COBRA MAN: New Driveway Soundtrack: LP

Nov 22, 2017

Disco and synth pop have a bad rep. I often recommend the book Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture. It’s a very fluid and revealing book about the disco era and how racism, sexism, and homophobia informed people’s view of disco. It’s helped me find value in some of the records I see regularly in dollar bins. There was an almost punk-style struggle dance and funk artists endured just to get their records made and heard before disco exploded. The aftermath of Saturday Night Fever (1977) reminded me a little of when Green Day got big. But there are way more bad disco records than good ones. I don’t think I’m a good judge of what’s good except when I hear something I like. This album is derivative of disco and synth pop that shows some merit. It’s a fun listen. I can’t tell how serious it is, so I’m just going to describe what some of theses songs evoked. “Magic Hour” teeters between Bee Gees and the better half of The Pet Shop Boys. “Fistfight at the Stoplight” sounds like a low-quality Blaxploitation soundtrack. “Weekend Special” could be played during the credits of a lost, low-grade ‘80s movie about a teenage road trip. “New Driveway” is an inexplicable rumination on getting a new driveway. It’s more listenable than jokier bands like this and the hooks are often good. If you’re into this sort of thing, it’s high quality. –Billups Allen (Goner)