The Detroit Cobras

The Detroit Cobras may look like another smash 'n' bash Motor City garage band trailing in the wake of the White Stripes or the Dirt Bombs, but there are distinct differences. The Cobras are essentially a cover band, but other than the occasional remake of tunes like Hank Ballard's "The Twist," 90 percent of the Cobras' material comes from obscure, deep tracks like "I Wanna Holler But the Town's Too Small" or Willie Dixon's "Insane Asylum" that will only vaguely jar the memory cells, if at all. The band has a knack for putting its own spin on such overlooked chestnuts, and Rachel Nagy's vocals (which always trigger my Martha Reeves and the Vandellas synapse) project all the frivolity of Debbie Harry in her earliest, Blondie-est incarnation. The tight, fluid band, led by tough-girl guitar riffer Mary Ramirez, finds steady grooves, landing them in the same party-band territory as venerable combos like Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Box Tops. The Detroit Cobras aren't trying to remake the world, but they do make a good case that maybe this whole music thing has gotten way too complicated.
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William Michael Smith