CD Review: Cobra Starship: One of music’s top current minds

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While a part of punk rock outfit Midtown in the late 1990s and early 2000s, lead singer Gabe Saporta was confronted with not only the struggles of increasing his band’s popularity, but also the music machine in the form of a major record label.

The New Jersey native, apparently tired of that turmoil, decided to disband Midtown and strike out on his own. Now only months after that decision, Saporta is back as Cobra Starship, a rock-goes-electronica solo project that would be annoying to former fans if not so interesting.

While The City Sleeps, We Rule The Streets opens with the presumably cathartic “Being From Jersey Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry.” It is a title Saporta uses to make it clear he makes no apologies. This is likely a good idea, as the opening track shares far more in common with Radiohead than it does with any punk or electronic outfit…or anything Saporta has ever publicly attempted.

“The Church of Hot Addiction” features a fast, heavy guitar riff backed with a clever dance beat, hand claps, and has a chorus highlighted by a quintessential “Hey Hey Hey” chant that shares more in common with The Ramones than any DJ.

Easily the most accessible track on the album is “Bring It,” a tune made popular through the film Snakes On A Plane, released in August. Put simply, it is remarkably catchy. However, it is possibly the most complex song on the album, in that it features three special guest singers (William Beckett of The Academy Is…, Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes and Maja Iversson of The Sounds). Though one might expect an overwhelming sound, the results are positively spectacular.

While this album may not appeal to some, it demonstrates with little doubt that when given creative freedom, Saporta may be one of music’s top current minds. While The City… will certainly grab the attention of dancers, rockers, rappers and plenty of music fans in between. Whether it keeps their attention will likely be Saporta’s biggest challenge yet.

From the Oct. 25-31, 2006, issue

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