- Cobra Verde
Since 1994, acerbic Cobra Verde frontman John Petkovic has been Cleveland's best argument for classic 1970s rock and roll, when the music overflowed with panache, witty lyrics, soaring backing vocals, and hooks you could memorize after one listen.
Easy Listening, Cobra Verde's third proper album, invests glam rock with Rust Belt oomph. While 1999's Nightlife lifted CV's nationwide profile, Easy Listening ought to launch the ruggedly tuneful quartet into a new tax bracket and heavy radio rotation (and democracy's going to spread throughout the Middle East, too). Instant classic "Riot Industry" packs a sweet crunch, like Joan Jett with testosterone and mad geysers of guitar feedback. "Don't Worry (The Law's Gonna Break You)" proves CV can do wistful, big-hearted ballads (quoting John Barry's immortal Midnight Cowboy always helps), and Petkovic's brilliant line -- "When you are down, I look up to you" -- seals the deal. Elsewhere, Cobra Verde reinvigorates prime-time Stones, Bowie, Alice Cooper, and Roxy Music with the wild-eyed zeal of true believers.