The first album by China's first all-female rock & roll band, like most homegrown Chinese rock, is to Western ears a curious mix of the strange and the familiar. Musically, Cobra's Hypocrisy sounds remarkably like a cross between Faith-era Cure and the later, poppier Siouxsie & the Banshees records, with some 4AD Records-style atmospherics thrown in for good measure. (The lengthy "It's Not the Age of Amusement" sounds like the Cocteau Twins jamming with Bauhaus.) Yet the melodies have the distinctive shape of Chinese folk music at times, and the Mandarin lyrics require vocal melodies that might sound a bit odd to untutored ears at first. But by the third song, an impressionistic tale of the cultural revolution called "Revolution 1966," a careful listener will have resolved the dichotomy, and by the catchy "Vulgarian," Hypocrisy will sound absolutely normal. Because of the political realities of rock & roll in mainland China, the lyrics (sung in Mandarin, with English translations in the CD booklet) are necessarily vague and elliptical, but the subtext is clear. For those who think that Asian pop music is limited to the bubblegummy Canto-pop crooners, Hypocrisy will be a revelation.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason