Cobra Starship surfaced in 2006 as part of the well-marketed Snakes on a Plane package, and the band's pop-punk music found a quick home among cult film buffs and Samuel L. Jackson fanatics. It was easy to like this early incantation of Cobra Starship -- particularly the breakout single "Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)" -- as the band was part of something fun, flashy, and consciously campy. ¡Viva la Cobra! arrives one year after that emergence, however, and the joke wears thin on this sophomore release. William Beckett and Maja Ivarsson have been replaced by a full-fledged band, and while ¡Viva la Cobra! attempts to reach the same glitzy heights as the group's first hit, it ultimately falls short.
There's enough melody here to satisfy most lingering fans, and Cobra Starship get a major leg-up from Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, who doubles as producer and co-writer for all 11 tracks. But even Stump can't give the band another sure-fire hit, as all the dance-pop numbers end up repeating the same steps in an attempt to perfect the one routine Cobra Starship knows how to do. The electronic percussion and dancefloor sleaze become quickly -- if not instantly -- familiar, so that by the time "Smile for the Paparazzi" introduces a touch of Spanish heat to a thoroughly Americanized album, it's too late to really matter. "Strike while it's hot -- there ain't too much room at the top," sings frontman Gabe Saporta. That's some solid advice, but it doesn't keep ¡Viva la Cobra! from nearly striking out.