Apollo Cobra are a three-piece disco funk band from Minneapolis. Motherland is their second album, and it is a happy little dance record.
The album starts with a lovely bass beat over some scattered keys. The song is Feel Like It and something in the voice reminds me of the late 1980s. In the middle, the band brings in a nice saxophone solo over their disco beats, which is totally 80s. Rad!
The next tune is called Shut Up and it has an early Fujiya and Miyagi feel to it. There is staccato percussion, deep rumbling bass, and a swaggering beat. The vocalist sounds like a higher-pitched James Murphy.
Track three is called Motherland and Apollo Cobra are giving it away free on their BandCamp site. It is totally worth the free download too. It is a good dance rock tune with a nice fuzzed bass riff over funky drumming and tinkling keys, the vocalist warbling along. This tune sounds a lot more organic than the previous two tunes, as if Apollo Cobra is trying to be a dance rock band and not a DJ project. It works.
On Pissed the keys warble and the percussion and guitars crunch like something from The Faint. But it is back to the Fujiya and Miyagi comparisons with Learn to Win. This is happy disco pop with a steady beat and a hushed and syncopated voice. There is a hint of Hall and Oates later work here, a certain something in the vocals. Fun.
Apollo Cobra channel James Murphy and company on This Is. The song is built out of a wavering keyboard drone, a slow steady drum beat, and the voice kind of buried in the mix. As the music swells and the song progresses, the vocals really start wailing. This could have been on Sounds of Silver, which is high praise indeed.
Fire Disguise adds some jangly guitar to the warbling synths that are Apollo Cobra’s norm, which is a nice effect. All My Friends is a lighter song, the synths warbling happily over a minimal beat and sparse vocals. And finally things wrap up with See You Again, which sounds like it consists of Theremin and acoustic guitar. This is electroclash that treds dangerously close the country, which is a very odd intersection of musical styles. It is a good tune though -- Apollo Cobra manage to pull it off.
Overall this is a good little record. There are lots of electro-style bands making this sort of stuff these days, and this is a pretty worthwhile example of the genre. They have some good ideas, and execute them well. I am curious to see where the band goes as they develop.