The Detroit Cobras 

Baby

In the tradition of many American indie bands and jazz musicians, the Detroit Cobras are considerably more popular in Europe than at home -- Baby, in fact, is their US debut. Stylistically, the coed quartet plays a style best described as "garage-soul," but they don't emulate their idols (from the Animals to Aretha) so much as reinterpret those classic troupes their way, charged with (but not encumbered by) reverence and basement-party rock 'n' roll élan. Singer Rachel Nagy has a forthright, slightly snotty voice reminiscent of the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde and Sonny-era Cher (that deep burr), with a gumption that never devolves into tuff-gal posturing. Meanwhile, the guitars are sharp as a new sharkskin suit, while the drums crack like nearby gunshots. The Cobras' brand of soul rocks, and as good as this is, they're probably three times better live.

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