I tried to stay away from other reviews that came out since Friday (I had some help in that my computer blew up, and I’ve got some work being done around the house distracting from my General Admission duties), but now that I’ve written it, I’ve had a gander to see if my impressions align with what everyone else is hearing. So the first thing I hear with this is early UK82 sounds – but the curveball is The Stooges like saxaphone (or if you want to pull in a more Italian influence, it could be I Refuse It) creeps in on a couple of tracks. And while that description may make you say what the fuck, trust me it works. In fact, it works really, really well. I absolutely believe there’s a formula for a good record – it needs to be reminiscent, but bring something new and different to the equation. It needs to sit within an identifiable genre or subgenre, but can grab elements from others. This does that. While it sits pretty neatly in hardcore from the early 80’s, it pulls in some Italian hardcore influences, as well as second wave of UK punk and if you think, like I do, that it goes and grabs pretty liberally from Steve Mackay’s saxophone trips with The Stooges.
In many ways, Kobra are like the underrated Under Pressure, from the 2000’s, who were rooted in Feel The Darkness era Poison Idea, but had their own take on it, and as another similarity also pulled in saxophone to augment their sound. And that to me is what Kobra – Confusione special – it’s immediately familiar but doing something interesting and new within the confines of that particular sound.
Now that I’ve read the provided notes, I’ll pass those on as well: the band is influenced by anarcho punk – and the whole album, ‘Confusione’, “tells the story of young broke punks in Milan, always looking for a grift in the system, angry but also full of self-doubt, torn between activism and nihilism.” Of course, my Italian is non-existant, so I can’t really comment on how successful the story telling is – but if they are as successful lyrically as they are sonically, Kobra will have something special.
To some extent, the roughness of the mix and recording only add to the evoking of the feeling of existing in 1982 rather than 2020. This is among the best record I’ve heard yet this year, a real bright spot in this shit year.
This review was edited to correct a mistake that made the original bassist of the Stooges, Dave Alexander, play saxophone instead of Steve Mackay.