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No Bones About It 

Political music, not musical politics

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“A cobra skull is the bone structure inside a cobra’s head.”

That’s Cobra Skulls’ singer/bass player Devin Peralta’s straightforward response to a probably stupid question. The Reno, Nevada, band’s music plays out in similar fashion: razor-sharp, energetic punk rock that touches on a variety of social issues without being preachy or heavy-handed. Theirs is a concise, rockin’ response to a world’s worth of stupid questions.

On their 2007 debut full length, Sitting Army, Cobra Skulls tackled stem cell research, religious critique, urban sprawl, distrust of the government and the messy politics of local music scenes — all without breaking down into the fl uffy diatribes that even the greatest socially minded punk bands have succumbed to.

Part of the success of their recipe seems to stem from maintaining a terrifi cally dry sense of humor (for example, all song titles on their debut record contain the word “Cobra”) and in keeping a healthy dose of variety, both lyrically and musically. Peralta sings occasionally in Spanish (he’s half-Argentinian). In an e-mail interview with The Inlander, he says those songs are “topical to that side of my family and/or to the Latino world.” In “┬íHasta los Cobra Skulls Siempre,” Peralta sings of the misled co-opting of revolutionary icon Ché Guevara by “compra[ndo] la camiseta de la revolución” — buying the T-shirt of the revolution.

The band formed in 2005 after Peralta moved to Reno to attend school. They’ve since released an EP and two full-lengths, and toured with Against Me!, Mad Caddies and the Lawrence Arms.

American Rubicon, Cobra Skulls’ second full-length, was released earlier this year. The album is tied a little tighter than their fi rst.

“Our overall execution of the songs is way better than the last album by far,” writes Peralta.

Lyrically, the album is detailed and topical as ever: “Rebel Fate” meditates on the next stage for a post-Bush America in the midst of multi-faceted turmoil, using the album’s namesake to symbolize the unknown obstacles en route.

Their music offers thoughtful nuggets of social commentary dipped liberally in punk, lightly dusted with rockabilly and folk, and thrown at your face — but not shoved down your throat.

Cobra Skulls play with Teenage Bottlerocket, Deadones USA and NeutralBoy at the Cretin Hop on Nov. 16, at 7 pm. Tickets: $10. Call: 327-7195.

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