Cobra Skulls Bringing the War Home

On fourth release and Fat Wreck Chords debut Bringing the War Home, the track "Life in Vain" finds Cobra Skulls asking to be informed if they try too hard. Cobra Skulls: you're trying too hard. Strolling further down the path of inspired, yet surprisingly unoriginal, pop punk peppered with ska-pilfered rhythms, Bringing the War Home features five tracks that hit every necessary point: meandering, Rancid-esque bass; ringing, Against Me!-ish guitars; rumbling drums; and an almost Me First and the Gimme Gimmes-esque vocal attack. However, despite the inherently chant-worthy choruses, very little feels original or passionate. The songs tend to plug along at an accelerated pace without inciting much more than a "yeah, that was kind of neat," casual interest. Aside from the nod to Bad Religion's "21st Century Digital Boy" on "Give You Nothing" (which is amusing, albeit expected given their previous exaltations of adoration for the verbose punks), the band's tunes play out and are duly forgotten, leading one to hope that the real tracks are being stockpiled for a killer full-length, not this forgettable stop-gap. (Fat Wreck)