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King Cobb Steelie

King Cobb Steelie - Project Twinkle

Project Twinkle
Lunamoth - 1994

Michael Panontin
King Cobb Steelie's first offerings, the gritty indie seven-inch One's a Heifer / Duotang (1991) and their surly self-titled LP two years later, were full of seething indie-rock, drawing obvious comparisons to the likes of Fugazi. But the tight-ass vitriolic of those early releases, though voguish at the time, may have been more the result of horseshoes up their backsides than anything else - as luck would have it, all-star knob-twiddler Bill Laswell caught wind of them and offered to produce their sophomore record.

The Guelph (Ontario) lads found a natural ally in Laswell on 1994's Project Twinkle, with their twitchy, jagged punk/funk now sitting alongside longer cuts of sinewy dub and jazz. Laswell's fingerprints are all over this, from opener 'Slump''s urgent rhythms to the loping Jah Wobble dub of cryptically titled 'Italian Ufology Today'. Guitar/bass duo Kevan Byrne and Kevin Lynn captain a tight ship here, as on the excellent 'Mano Ponderosa', flitting and careening off each other's riffs. And rather than cliched indie-rock rage, Project Twinkle scratches below the surface of those adolescent tantrums, digging up a more grown-up anguish, as on 'Slump' ("Resolve against myself, resist against myself, you could find yourself if I could find myself"). Taut, scrappy and angst-ridden, this will fit nicely in your collection somewhere between Moonshake and African Headcharge.

On later efforts, like 1997's Junior Relaxer and 2000's Mayday, the band flirted with electronic beats while courted by major labels WEA and Ryko, but their high-water mark would remain this uncompromising funk-up of a disc.


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