Iceage Cobra – Brilliant Ideas From Amazing People Record Label – Heavy Soul
The first two tracks on Iceage Cobra’s Brilliant Ideas From Amazing People, “Tornado of Knives” and “We Gotta Drive,” are glorious and axe-thundering rock and roll tributes. In the beginning of “Tornado” there is a whispering roar from a stadium of concertgoers. The first strikes of the bass drum echo against the arena walls. Its bold and a bit cocky of a statement, but I think Cobra is trying to trick us. Really, the Seattle crew is sweating bullets from a half-foot tall stage in the back for some bumfuck dive bar, cock rock and cheap beer flowing. I imagine tonight’s crowd is more sporadic than the fantasy masses from “Tornado,” but those twenty somethings are still enamored for these 14 inspiring after-work rock songs.
Brilliant Ideas is a soul rock tantrum for the blue collar and bohemian young folk. It’s sloppy, reckless, and awesome for those two reasons. Its recklessness is romantic, trashy, and sort of inspiring. But the most important trait of them all is Cobra’s retro swagger, a cluster of surf rock, jazz, grungy punk, and an AC/DC drive. Brilliant Ideas pummels until “We’re Gonna Win Some Money” - the fussy saxophone solo, funky edge, and throaty female back-up vocals are a step sideways from the jutting guitars and regular vocal gnarls. At over six minutes, it’s the longest and one of the more “experimental” tracks on the album. This completely changes the momentum of Brilliant Ideas. Like a domino effect, I’m not as engulfed with the rest of the album as the first six tracks, but I like the instrumental incorporation and overall flow. Really, I can’t decide on a definite opinion.
There are more of things that I can’t decide on. First of all, it’s pretty obvious Cobra is going for big balls, but I can’t decide if they actually HAVE big balls. I mean, anyone can play overdriven riffs on repeat and come off like snarling proto-punks. But could Brilliant Ideas enter a time machine, whip back a couple decades, and fit in perfectly against the faded brick of New York’s Lower East Side? It’s a toss up. We have punctuating energies but with almost indistinguishable riffage across the board. The lyrics - all very tongue-in-cheek and repetitive – takes quite some endurance, but they have their clever moments. And even with its bombastic and spontaneous production, Brilliant Ideas occasionally feels calculated and contrived. I can see myself enjoying a full-frontal live show from Cobra, but I’ve probably cradled a couple bottlenecks by then. I guess I’d rather have one really wild Busch-brimming night with Brilliant Ideas and leave it at that.