To those familiar with either Night Dolls with Hairspray or any of Ferraro’s later ‘Muscleworks Inc’ recordings (such as Feed Me and On Air), this fresh persona might seem a little suspicious. Where earlier albums dealt with killer nerds, TV addicts and human cockroaches, Cold turns out to be a deadpan account of the kind of navel-gazing endemic in its target genre. The illegible vocal sample that runs throughout the self-pitying ‘Fade’, for example, is revealed (through headphones) to be an unprintable obscenity directed at the singer himself. Similarly, the lyrics to ‘Slave to Rain’ are hilariously nihilistic, a kind of ‘Pennies from Heaven’ for the HD generation, promising to “have babies and shower them with cash / Cold hard cash.” The artist’s shifting stance is most hauntingly evident in the penultimate song (‘Turned Opp’), as a distorted voice praises “LOVELY LOVELY CASH” beneath the repeated lament: “I’m just trying to live properly / Let me burn...”
Doing for jet-lagged R&B what Zappa did for the more sickly corners of doo-wop, Cold is a stark addition to Ferraro’s ongoing account of our era and its cultural detritus.