Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars
One of the more bizarre musical concepts of the year sneaks in and rears its odd little head during the last 3 weeks of 2012. Hortlax Cobra is the alter ego of John Eriksson from Peter, Bjorn and John. He recorded a set of original tunes that share the same tempos, keys, song titles and timing as those on Van Halen’s classic rock album of the same name. This follows a solo album of experimental electronic compositions released this past summer called Night Shift, and adheres to the same basic sonic template. Some electronically added pops and clicks to make it seem like an old vinyl record along with sweetly distorted vocals bring a Kraftwerk-ian vibe but techno excursions “Panama,” Hot For Teacher” and “Jump” (the three big hits from the Van Halen disc) are in no way recognizable as the same titled tracks played to death on classic rock radio. That’s probably the point and it’s worth a grin or two as a humorous if only marginally successful, rambling, somewhat unfocused musical peculiarity you will likely play a few times and relegate to the “interesting but unnecessary” bin.