I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thorcraft Cobra - Count It In

Thorcraft Cobra is a two-piece band out of Los Angeles comprised of Canadian Billy Zimmer and Californian Tammy Glover. The band is named after an old Canadian tube amp that is no longer in circulation, and that was enough to pique my interest. While references to Scandinavian gods and serpents might suggest that you are about to listen to a terrible metal album, Thorcraft Cobra is in fact a fun-time radio-friendly rock and roll band which is clearly influenced by classic rock and '90s alternative rock.

The debut album Count It In sounds like what the Foo Fighters might have released in the early '00s in an alternate universe where the Foo Fighters evolved their sound and added complexity with age. Unfortunately, vocalist Billy Zimmer sounds like your drunk friend talk-shout-singing a Foo Fighters song at a dive on karaoke night. While songs like "Count Me Out" and "Party Clock" are catchy, I found myself wishing I could rid myself of these songs.

Hidden behind uninspired, classic rock mimicry and the occasional moody song with a '90s vibe and soft, whiskey-lipped singing, there is some decent guitar playing. The best guitar sounds can be heard on a track titled "I'm Not Sorry." Aside from that, I like this album for the same reason I liked the movie Across the Universe: it makes me think of better music while suffering through the bad music. "Black Swan" reminds me of a Tom Petty song circa the release of Wildflowers, "Party Clock" occasionally feels like some of the flashback Brit Pop that Blur was pumping out in the '90s, and "Bemused, Bored and Dangerous" steals its epic guitar ending from the Who.

Ultimately, I think that the two-piece band might benefit from holding auditions. If they are to keep making music, they will need a better singer. There is just no other way around it. As for Zimmer and Glover, I think they need to work on figuring out what they want their sound to be, because alternating between fun party tunes and moody introspective tunes is not working for them. With some more edge to the guitar work, a better singer, and a sense of direction, Thorcraft Cobra could have a great sophomore album. As for their freshman attempt, I congratulate them for breaking into a difficult music scene, but they're going to have to try harder if they want to get good reviews.

I've syndicated this review at Examiner. You can read it here. If you click on it a few times, spend some time there, or navigate to a new page, I might get some money. But I'm only asking that of you if you liked reading the article here and want to show your appreciation.


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