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Copycat Killers

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Album Review

There's love for the pop and rock canons in every note Cobra Verde write, so a mirthy, clever, and well-played covers set from the Ohio combo isn't any kind of surprise. "Get the Party Started," well, gets the party started, and the oft-licensed Pink jam proves its unfailing pop mettle. Verde vocalist John Petkovic channels a particularly lecherous Greg Dulli as fuzz guitar whines in the background and the (live) percussion bumps along with smutty insistence. A run through New Order's "Temptation" isn't as successful, but the band's care in replicating the oohing backing vocals suggests that Copycat Killers is mostly about fun. Covering a song called "Underpants" (originally by Cleveland punk heroes the Easter Monkeys) suggests that, too. Cobra Verde add handclaps and sighing harmonies to the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks," reinterpret the Stones' "Play With Fire" as a moody cabaret piece, and make Hawkwind's banned acid rock head-trip "Urban Guerilla" sound like it should have always been a vintage Motown stomper. You got time to bring it down! Other Copycat Killers highlights: the space-disco workover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" that begs for a DFA remix, and Mott the Hoople's "Rock and Roll Queen" played as straight and ragged as the barroom anthem it always will be.


Formed: 1992 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although many first became aware of Cleveland's Cobra Verde when they joined forces with Robert Pollard in Guided by Voices, they're certainly not just any ordinary backing band. They rose from the ashes of the out-of-control Death of Samantha, which released three full-length albums and one EP on the Homestead label. The new group wanted to achieve a more atmospheric sound than its predecessor, and did so by the time of their 1994 debut on Scat Records, Viva La Muerte. Combining the impact of punk...
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Copycat Killers, Cobra Verde
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