Album Review: Cobra Skulls – “Agitations”

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This is the second Cobra Skulls review that I’ve written for this website. The first was for their “Bringing The War Home” EP earlier this year, so I’ve got to make sure that I don’t repeat myself too much. For those of you who missed that review, I’ll sum up the important points. In my opinion, Cobra Skulls are a throwback to the 90’s punk scene (in a good way) and their singer, Devin Peralta, sounds like Jack Grisham when he was in The Joykiller. Ok, now that were all caught up, here’s my review of their new release.

“Agitations” is a pretty good album but there are a couple of things that I don’t like about it. First off, I should warn you that it’s a very short CD, with a run time that just barely breaks twenty-six minutes. That’s not an issue that affects how I rate an album, just something that annoys me. One of the problems that I am having with “Agitations” is that some of the tracks seem unfinished. Songs like “Iron Lung”, “The Minimum” and “Drones” (each about a minute and a half long) come to abrupt ends. It’s not the length of these songs that bugs me, it’s the fact that the stories that are being told in the songs don’t seem to reach their proper end. It’s like having a conversation with someone who has no attention span: they start to tell you an interesting story and then suddenly change the topic. I know that Cobra Skulls are famous for their short, fast style of political punk but to me, adding just a little more to these tracks would have helped make them feel more like complete songs rather than some unfinished pieces of music included just to bring up the albums length. Even though it seems to be cut short, I really like the song “Drones.” The intro and mid-song breakdown sound like something played by a Vegas lounge act. I just wish there was a little more to the track.

Otherwise, “Agitations” is what we’ve come to expect from the Cobra Skulls: fast and angry songs about the political and social problems we face today. There are songs about the American work force, the environment, rebelling against the system, immigration etc. There’s even an unexpected (at least for me) country song at the end of the album called “Believe”.

I do have one more problem with “Agitations”, and it’s an issue that I’m encountering often these days. That problem is that I enjoy almost all of these songs on their own but when I listen to the entire CD, it comes across as being boring. Many of these songs are played at about the same tempo and  start to blend together. And the vocals sound the same on almost every song. Don’t get me wrong, I like Devin Peralta’s voice but I can’t help but wish he’d show a little more range.

If you’re a big fan of Cobra Skulls, I see no reason why you won’t like this disc,  but if you’re a new listener, I’d recommend that you check out one of their other CD’s first. Personally, I think “Sitting Army” and “American Rubicon” are both better albums.



7 Comments

  1. Patrick de Lange10/20/2011 12:51 PM | Permalink

    26 minutes isn’t short. I reckon 26 minutes is pretty much the perfect length for a punk rock album.

    After all:
    Adolescents – s/t: 28 minutes
    Bad Religion – Suffer: 26 minutes
    Circle Jerks – Group Sex: 16 minutes

    I could go on and on.

  2. poisonedfate
    Jeremy Stacks10/20/2011 5:33 PM | Permalink

    I’m sure you could go on. And so could I (Pinhead Gunpowder, F-Minus…) but my issue with short albums isn’t so much about the quality of the music as it is about how much the record company charges for it. Why should we have to pay the same amount of money for a 16 minute Circle Jerks cd that we pay for a 50 minute Bad Religion dics? The short cd’s should cost less!
    It’s the same on iTunes as it is in a store, 99 cents for a thirty seconds song ? come on, that’s a load of crap. Most of us don’t have the money to spare so if you’re gonna put out a cd, make it long enough to justify me spending 10 to 15 dollars on it. If it’s ubder 30 minutes, call it an ep and charge less.

  3. poisonedfate
    Jeremy Stacks10/20/2011 5:34 PM | Permalink

    Under not ubder.

  4. Patrick de Lange10/21/2011 3:31 AM | Permalink

    Although I can see your point, I shiver to think what would happen if that actually came to pass. Imagine every musician writing songs that last half an hour just so they can get more money.

    But then again, it’s one of the reasons I don’t buy CDs at all, or pay for downloads. I buy vinyl because then at least you got something to show for your money (and it sounds better ;) ).

  5. Mr. Correct10/21/2011 6:58 PM | Permalink

    Insane review. This album is ace, all the way. Every single song is musical sex.
    One of the greatest punk bands playing today (actual punk, mind you), with their greatest release yet.

    Bravo, Skulls… bravo.

  6. traverkipper8/22/2016 5:42 AM | Permalink

    Incredibly Awesome

  7. marthacooper8/24/2016 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Just love your work

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