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Articles and Reviews

April 23, 2003
Cobra Verde
Easy Listening

Known to some only as Robert Pollard's backing band on Guided By Voices' Mag Earwhig!, Cobra Verde is a rollicking creature in and of itself, exploding out of Ohio every few years with a new album. Frontman John Petkovic aspires to the arena-sized power-pop of Cheap Trick even more than Pollard, but he tweaks it with the snarky slyness of Elvis Costello and melodic meatiness of Big Star. By way of pedigree, Easy Listening was released on the label of MC5's Wayne Kramer and features guitar work by J. Mascis. Still, Cobra Verde really doesn't need anyone's help in attracting and holding our attention, what with all those knotty riffs and wonderfully cliched choruses. On the bigger chunks of monster rock, Petkovic turns his vamping up a notch for lines like "By the time I got to Phoenix/ I was halfway to hell/ I tried to kiss the devil/ But had no soul to sell." He displays surprising sensitivity on the ballads "Throw It Away" and "The Speed of Dreams," and while such detours are nicely affecting, it is undeniably with the loud, dynamic stuff that the band really succeeds. -- Doug Wallen

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