Cobra Skulls - Bringing the War Home (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Cobra Skulls

Bringing the War Home (2011)

Fat Wreck Chords

After the ease with which Teenage Bottlerocket transitioned from Red Scare Industries to Fat Wreck Chords, there was little doubt in my mind that Cobra Skulls would have any trouble with the same label change. Bringing the War Home is the band's first release on Fat, and it's a concise five-song collection that flies by thanks to an upbeat tempo that rarely lets up.

The tempo of the EP is what sets it apart from the band's previous release, American Rubicon. Rubicon was a departure from the band's earlier work in that it slowed the tempos of Draw Muhammad and Sitting Army and experimented with the band's folk and rockabilly influences. While those influences are still present on Bringing the War Home, the slower tempos are not here as the band rarely takes its foot off the gas pedal. While that might get tedious over the course of a full-length, it suits this EP just fine.

One of the EP's early highlights is "ICE in the Night", an extremely catchy tune that laments the practices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Meanwhile, closer "Life in Vain" stands out because while the other tracks are angry political tracks, the song is a heartfelt number with some huge hooks. But the showstopper on the disc has to be "Hot Sand", a passionate track full of tempo changes and sharp lyrics which provide the EP with its title: "So comfortable. Can't see a star-spangled coffin on TV, so parents won't care who's got the remote control to airborne drones. Kind of makes me feel like bringing the war home."

The EP is not without its weaknesses. Their cover of Bad Religion's "Give You Nothing", while a solid track, is a bit too straightforward for the Cobra Skulls' m.o. A friend provided an apt description, stating that it sounded "like something that would fit right in on a mid-'90s Punk-o-Rama compilation." And while the friend meant that as a compliment, to me it illustrates how the song feels slightly out of place on the EP.

Regardless, Bringing the War Home is another excellent addition to the Cobra Skulls' rock-solid discography, and is hopefully indicative of what their next full-length holds in store for the band.