Articles and Reviews
AKRON BEACON JOURNAL)
May 4, 2003
Hey, rock 'n' roll fans, are you tired of having your music tainted with tongue-in-cheek irony, frat-boy smarminess, mind-numbing ennui and soul-baring angst? Are you looking for a rock record that actually rocks?
Then Cleveland's Cobra Verde has the record for you.
Easy Listening grabs you by the throat from the first crunching notes of the opener, Riot Industry, and doesn't let up until the closing saxophone-laced ballad Don't Worry (The Law's Gonna Break You).
Led by longtime scenester and Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist John Petkovic, Cobra Verde has assembled a record that's a damn fun listen. The music is rooted in '70s hard and glam rock with a pop sensibility, a time before guitar solos and ''la la la'' backing vocals were considered too cliched by hipster musicians afraid to admit they wanted to be rock stars like everyone else.
But Easy Listening doesn't simply sound retro. Songs such as Modified Frankenstein, with its heavy chunka-chunka MC5-ish blues riffage, are a continuation of that sound rather than a look back.
Throughout the CD, Petkovic displays a penchant for ugly imagery. Over a spooky descending bass line colored with noirish organ and guitar, he opines in a low growl, ''There's a love for a love in a silver studded glove. Rats and rhinestones looking for a new blood, tacky mirrors and vampire alien ghosts, looking back at me to take them home.''
Easy Listening isn't all muscle. Just after the aggressive Terrorist, which packs a distorted start-stop rhythmic wallop that would make Johnny Thunders proud, The Speed of Dreams calms everything down with a bluesy power ballad lamenting wasted lost love.
Easy Listening is only the third full-length disc Petkovic has put out in nearly a decade (the second, Nightlife, came out in 1999) using the Cobra Verde name. Each has improved on its predecessor, and fans will hope they won't have to wait another four years to hear what's next.
--Malcolm X Abram; Beacon Journal staff writer
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