As a part of the so-called garage rock revival, the Detroit Cobras tend to prowl the perimeters of the movement with astounding alacrity, remaining a bit more traditional and true to punk than most of today's Motor City spawn. Far from the primal, pounding blues that characterizes their better-known brethren the White Stripes, the Cobras are further distanced from the garage rock set by their diverse, dynamic homage to rock and roll's grittier, more danceable roots.
On the band's two proper releases, 1998's Mink Rat or Rabbit and this year's phenomenal Love Life and Leaving, the Cobras drench their tunes in heavy layers of R&B and soul, peppering them with touches of gospel and the rhythms of early '50s rock. The success of this approach identifies the Cobras as rock and roll saviors rather than simple revivalists. Fronted by vocalist Rachel Nagy, whose sharp growl makes a run at Joan Jett, the band has the agility and focus to blend disparate styles and make them sound utterly modern. The Cobras never rely on gimmicky sounds or moods for authenticity; they just channel the rampant energy of a half-century of rock and roll, and pour it all out into the songs.