For those who lament the increasing dissection of musical micro-genres—those who hate narrowly carved niches, like, say, post-emo-core-hop, Cobra Skulls is refreshingly simple to describe: This is a punk rock band.
The group is something of a Reno music success story. Cobra Skulls formed here in 2005, and now, six years later, they spend most of their time on the road, touring with some of their own big influences, like Against Me!, and are signed to Fat Wreck Chords, the popular and influential label owned by NOFX singer Fat Mike.
Cobra Skulls was propelled to the (semi) big time partly by an unerring knack for branding—a great band name and an eye-catching logo worthy of a G.I. Joe villain. But mostly they have the music to back up their success. The group’s basic sound fits right in with the tight, upbeat punk associated their label, which just released the group’s new full-length, Agitations.
But the record should appeal to a diverse swath of punkers—a lot of pure ass-kicking energy for those who like their punk rock uncut, catchy hooks for those who like their punk to pop, and some rockabilly wallop for those who like their punk retro. The influences are easy to spot, but well incorporated: the anthemic throat-ripping of Against Me!, the political intelligence of Bad Religion, and the pick-slide-and-power-chords of Social Distortion.
Inversely, and perhaps more importantly, the band lacks many of the off-putting qualities of its influences. For example, Devin Peralta’s voice is tuneful and melodic without the nasal, histrionic affectations that often mar pop punk. And no matter how hard the band rocks, it’s always done with on-the-dime precision.