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Washington Post
May 23, 2003
Cobra Verde
Easy Listening

Perhaps Ziggy Stardust's last disciple, Cobra Verde frontman John Petkovic writes neo-glitter rockers in which he adopts the personas of such outsiders as vampires, monsters and terrorists -- all pulp-fictional metaphors for the alienated adolescent. In "Modified Frankenstein," he announces that "I'm too unreal to be untrue," a line that could serve as the motto of "Easy Listening," the Cleveland quartet's fifth CD. Petkovic is the only survivor of the original Cobra Verde, which formed a decade ago. While former bandmates have defected to such outfits as Guided by Voices, the singer-guitarist hasn't wavered. He still takes inspiration from foreign films -- "Here Comes Nothing" invokes "Jules and Jim" -- and the theatrical but blues-grounded music of early '70s David Bowie and the New York Dolls (who had their own Frankenstein song). While the slinky "My Name Is Nobody" adds a dash of Motown, the "All the Young Dudes"-ish refrain of "To Your Pretty Face" is more typical. An ode to "rats and rhinestones" and "tacky mirrors and vampire alien ghosts," the latter song proclaims that Petkovic is still Ohio's man who fell to earth.

-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Thursday, May 29, at IOTA. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Cobra Verde, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8122. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.) -- Joe Gross

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