Tod Howarth is known as a member of 707 and Frehley's Comet, and also as the (sometimes unwarranted) keyboardist on numerous Cheap Trick tours. On Cobalt Parlor, he delivers a truly solo project, providing all the vocals and instrumentation. Howarth maintains the hair aesthetic with his playing, but an overall bitterness pervades his sophomore outing. The best bits sound like ambitious Dokken, while the majority resembles tuneless King's X. Bizarrely, "Bookend" and "Misgivings" quote Simon & Garfunkel (of all people). Kudos to Howarth for using art as therapy and getting this off his chest, but such a record requires extensive effort from the listener. Cobalt Parlor comes as quite a shock, considering the (deceptively) weightless lyrical content of the celebrated company Howarth keeps. Not many of these tracks stick to the ribs, and the talented Howarth could take a songwriting lesson from catchy Rick Nielsen classics like "Oh Candy," which coat a heavy topic with a light, fluffy, and tasty frosting.
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AllMusic Review by Doug Stone