With Cobra Skulls, it's easy to have a good time. American Rubicon offers up more of their invigorating, left-of-center punk with shades of folk and rockabilly, conjuring images of a threesome between Against Me!, the Living End, and the Clash. It's a fast and fun record -- and a step forward for the guys, showing them tightening up their sound and carving out a distinct voice, even more than 2007's Sitting Army. They are confident and defiant, and they play with a sense of urgency, directing protest-fueled punches at societal and political ills, careful not to get too weighed down by the seriousness of some of their subject matter. "There's a Skeleton in My Military Industrial Closet" and "Rebel Fate" voice dissatisfaction with the government and the state of the country, and elsewhere, Cobra Skulls vent guitar-driven frustrations with society ("Muniphobia") and the punk scene ("Bad Apples"). But singer Devin Peralta isn't afraid to show a little vulnerability too, like in the stripped-down, twenty-something confession of "One Day I'll Never," and the group always sounds like it's having a great time, keeping things light and accessible. Peralta, whose vocals otherwise resemble Tom Gabel's, intermittently switches between English and Spanish with ease, making a standout track like "Thicker Than Water" even more memorable. At 17 songs in length, American Rubicon might seem overwhelming at first glance, but at just 36 minutes, it blazes by with spirit and unfailing catchiness -- just another sign that Cobra Skulls are fast becoming required listening.
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AllMusic Review by Corey Apar