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COBRA VERDE "Nightlife"
By Mark Jenkins
Friday, February 11, 2000
Although Cobra Verde may be best known for the period in 1997 when it functioned as Guided by Voices--with a little help from GBV frontman Robert Pollard, of course--the Cleveland quintet has made interesting music on its own. The new "Nightlife" is the most elaborate of the band's four albums, a glam-revival romp that invokes the spirit of David Bowie, Roxy Music and (in the closing "Pontius Pilate") Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. CV singer-songwriter John Petkovic is a Cleveland Plain-Dealer columnist, film buff--his band takes its name from a Werner Herzog flick--and connoisseur of rock artifice. The cover of "Nightlife" was snapped by Mick Rock, glitter-rock's favorite photographer, yet it's no more sly a homage to the period than "Crashing in a Plane," with its "Alladin Sane" piano and sax. "My past is your future," Petkovic sings, but you don't need to know rock's past as well as he does to appreciate "Nightlife." Such rockers as "Don't Burden Me With Dreams" and "One Step Away from Myself" have a tuneful punch that doesn't require footnotes.

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