With their second release in four months, Bowling Green’s most notorious duo is at it again with a hard-hitting live album.
On June 19, bandmates J.D. Minor and Josh Hines of Dos Cobros released their sophomore album “Synesthesia” which included all original music and marked a significant innovation in sound from their debut “Emulsifier.”
Released on Sept. 4 in an attempt to diversify their catalog and portray their roots, Dos Cobros’ third release, “Spittin’ Some Venom In Em” starts with three studio-recorded cover songs. The album then transitions into seven live tracks recorded in Nashville at a 2018 concert.
Before diving in, it’s worth noting the effortless finesse that the duo shows in putting together an album with just enough punch — but not too much to tire listeners out. Dos Cobros has yet to release an album with a total run time of more than 30 minutes.
The trend continued and worked exceptionally well for this record. Coming in at just more than 25 minutes, this unique piece of work captures Dos Cobros’ style and influence with plenty of speed, grit and raw sound.
In all of Dos Cobros work to this point, fans have been able to hear the live energy that the duo has through their studio work. The first three studio songs on “Spittin’ Some Venom In Em” stick with this feel, although one can’t help but notice the band cranked up the volume even more on this one.
From the get-go, this album is louder, meaner and exactly the sound this band is capable of on every record of theirs from here on out. Where “Synesthesia” and “Emulsifier” tended to sound muffled at times with their production, “Spittin’ Some Venom In Em” truly polishes the raw aggression and live-esque sound Dos Cobros never fails to pump out.
“The Baby Face Assassins” is the catchiest of any opener Dos Cobros has released to this point. The entrance riff is among the most memorable and iconic of anything the duo has released. It sets the tone for the rest of the album and proves Minor and Hines have perfected their studio sound.
“The Bird” is a modified cover of “Surfin’ Bird” by the Trashmen, and it rocks. This one-minute speedy jam aids the opening track well in keeping the energy high and filling your ears with noise. Listen closely or else you’ll miss the relentless riffage that Minor puts out.
The last studio track on “Spittin’ Some Venom In Em” captures why this album separates itself from the previous two. “Space Truckin’ Through Detroit” is a hybrid cover song that combines elements of “Space Truckin’” by Deep Purple, “Down on the Street” by The Stooges and “Kick Out the Jams” by MC5. Mike Farmer does the honors of adding guest vocals to this track.
This medley is an ode to the duo’s time spent collaborating and innovating their sound to fit their style. Aside from the fact that this song puts out effortless change of tempo, it’s worth listening closely to how well a song like “Down on the Street” fits into “Kick Out the Jams” just under five minutes into this seven-minute onslaught.
The rest of the live album includes six tracks from Dos Cobros’ debut album “Emulsifier.”
Notable of these is “Fist Fight or Flight.” After a short interlude, this track is blistering at just under two minutes long and packs the most speed of any live track on the record. It never ceases to amaze how this duo changes tempo with ease.
Finally, to cap things off, the duo ends the set with “Detroit Medley,” which is similar to “Space Truckin’ Through Detroit,” but instead includes parts of “Down on the Street” and “Kick out the Jams.” Seeing this band live is one thing, but hearing this song to end an elaborate, live record like this is the best move Dos Cobros could’ve made.
What’s so admirable about this ending is that a lot of live records include excerpts of the band talking to the crowd or the vocalist giving a monologue of sorts. That’s not part of this record.
“This is our last song, we are Dos Cobros,” are the only spoken words on this live album. This is who this band is. No talking, no tomfoolery, just jamming — straight and to the point.
Three months later, releasing an album with covers and a live performance only strengthens the duo’s reach. Dos Cobros didn’t record this album just for fun. This album speaks volumes (literally) to where the band comes from and the raw energy they put into, not just their work, but every live show they put on.
“Spittin’ Some Venom In Em” can only be streamed on Bandcamp, and physical copies can be purchased at Mellow Matt’s Music and More.
Music columnist Casey Warner can be reached at casey.warner@yahoo. com. Follow him on Twitter @thecaseywarner.