CD Review: Cobalt and the Hired Guns “Everybody Wins!”

Having existed for many years as both friends and bandmates, Jesse Alexander, Tomlinson Fort and Mike Roth seem to be able to draw on each other’s musical influences when creating their songs. The resulting songs created by their band Cobalt and the Hired Guns incorporate rock, ska, punk, pop even horny rock. This musical combination is alive and well on the band’s latest release entitled Everybody Wins!

With no two songs alike and no two back-to-back songs having the same sound or feel to the music, Everybody Wins! starts strong and just keeps going. The ever-changing style assures the listener that the release will never get monotonous or boring.

Everybody Wins! starts off strong right from the beginning. The first track of the album not only features some very strong rock music, it also contains a large amount of the band’s off-kilter sense of humor. “Like You Like Me Like Me” finds the singer questioning the sincerity of his love interest. The lyrics “And when you say you like me, is it like you ‘like me like me’ or is it like you like me like a friend?” give the listener plenty to smile at as you enjoy the music the band creates on the song. And the horns included on the track help the band create a song that containing “horny rock” music.

The album continues with the second track of “Leaving”. While “Like You like Me like Me” features horns in the background of the song, they seem to be there to create a fuller sound to the track. The horns present on “Leaving” help make the song feel like a ska tune and not just a “rock song with horns”. The addition of an ever-changing tempo gives character to the music and helps create a hit single feel to the track.

The band trades in the horns for a tack piano and a harmonica on the track “You Left Your Sweater”. Instead of a song with an orchestral feel to it, “You Left Your Sweater” has more of a Honky Tonk/Americana feel. And while the band switches musical directions for the track, no energy has been lost as this track will make you tap your foot and yearn to get up and dance.

Everybody Wins! features two tracks that finally ended up being released on an album. Having been partially tracked in 2009, the aforementioned “You Left Your Sweater” and the song “Of Summer” end up being two best tracks off of Everybody Wins!, proving that it is better to wait on something than to rush to get it finished.

“Of Summer” is a song that has a very infectious beat. The pop feel of the music is once again matched up with the horn players who appeared earlier on the release; once the refrain of the song shows up, “Of Summer” becomes a track that pulls the listener in and makes them want to sing along. And once again, the horns are used to add depth to the music. Having been originally released as a single back in 2009, the track has now become a song that is hard to ignore.
“Blue and White” finds the band approaching the song in a straight-out rock direction. The guitar and bass from singer/composer Mike Roth and drums from album producer Sean O’keefe combine to create the closest thing the band has created that is three-chord rock. The addition of strings and keys late in the track add a bit of beauty to the song as it takes on an orchestral rock feel for the remainder of the composition.

It is during the time spent listening to the track “Tailgunner of the Flying Fortress” that you understand what the album art means. As the art features a squadron of airplanes in the middle of a mission, the lyrics of this track play like a remembrance to those who gave their lives during missions up in the clouds. The upbeat feel to the song makes it seem like a happy memory and not a sad one.

It is clear that when Jesse Alexander, Tomlinson Fort and Mike Roth came together as a band, there was real talent there. And that talent has created an album that has many different musical sides to it. No matter what song you listen to on Everybody Wins! from Cobalt and the Hired Guns, you’re sure to be entertained.

 

Click HERE for the official video to "Of Summer"

Click HERE for NoVo Management and Publicity, Inc, the band's PR firm.