The following comments were excerpted from articles written by Vincent Fumar,
former music writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper.
"You" backed with "Three Chord City" is the Cold's first single. Both songs are DeGeneres/Radecker compositions that have sharply defined rhythms, catchy melodies, and memorable lyrics. "You" opens with a brisk Chris Luckette drumbeat that leads into Barbara Menendez, using her patented girl-pop voice, singing with a clarity and verve that recalls the early Blondie albums. Radecker sings the lead on "Three Chord City" using his best adolescent-sounding tone, and Luckette furiously hammers one of his favorite surf beats. Both songs feature a lack of present-day studio trappings, and a snap that puts 90 percent of today's radio fare to shame.
The Cold's stirring beat material, all of it done with jovial slants, is exemplified by a scorching version of "Downtown", featuring a frenetic Menendez vocal and a thrilling extra beat from Luckette during the chorus. From the impressive push and pull of "I'm Serious" to the intrigue of new songs like "Mesmerized", the Cold has once again eschewed the fulsome lead guitar and synthesized drudgery that plagued lesser bands... Effervescent ensemble work has become the band's trademark.
"Mesmerized" ambles and jaunts across so many rhythmic changes that it becomes impossible not
to be grabbed by some part of it. It is more than the customary Cold balance of walloping beat and catchy melody. There is the stern bass might of Vance DeGeneres, the ticking of the Kevin Radecker - Bert Smith guitar team, and a stylish Barbara Menendez vocal. The B-side, "Wake Up" by drummer Chris Luckette, is every bit as good as "Mesmerized". It continues the snap and crackle of the A-side with Luckette's boyish though impassioned vocal, which contrasts with the tight guitars of Radecker and Smith, those appropriately austere stylists who continue to pick each other's pockets. The tempo is faster, with Luckette mounting his usual tom-drum attacks in the right places, and singing his heart out. Produced by DeGeneres and Cold sound man Cliff Derbins, the record is a perfect example of pop with a vengeance.
"Thanks a Lot" is sung by Bert Smith, who makes his first appearance on records as a lead vocalist. The song offers a quirky introduction outlined by the guitars and organ, then returns to the theme in
several spots. The delivery of the lyrics, a tale of soured romance and attempted suicide, is tense and sometimes desperate; there is an appropriate bitterness in the way the lyrics are spat out. "Thanks a Lot" uses much precise imagery, is attractive in a neurotic sense and still manages to rock mightily.
Their fourth single "Do the Dance" / "Missing Hit Man" was produced by Craig Leon, who engineered the first Blondie album and produced the Ramones’ first LP. "Do the Dance" has the appeal of a nursery rhyme and the vivacity of an old cartoon. Chris Luckette's polished drum sound can't be overlooked, since Leon apparently went to considerable lengths to capture its full range. The simplicity implied by the chant, sung by Luckette and Barbara Menendez, is typically deceptive. "Missing Hit Man" seems to have been musically inspired by the tremelo-heavy soundtracks of mid-60's spy movies, and lyrically inspired by Raymond Chandler's detective novels. Radecker sings on lead on what may be the densest Cold sound yet recorded.
The 16 Songs... album includes the endearingly Squeeze-like "Working Girl", the well-sung "Modern Beat", and the diffuse but passionate girl-pop of "Seems Like Forever". Bert Smith's terse,literary songwriting style is featured in "Russian Around", (with some offbeat international political references.)
"Take All the Time" is a basic medium-tempo tale of romantic complication, sung fetchingly by Barbara Menendez and underlined by the firmest instrumental sound the band has ever mustered in a studio. Vocals aside, the song is somewhat reminiscent of those 1960's rock revivalists, the Flamin' Groovies. "I Go To Pieces" is a reorganized version of the Peter and Gordon hit, with the chords broken up a bit and emphasized in a riff-happy manner. Menendez's vocal features more of her tension-and-release delivery, and Chris Luckette's drums again boom memorably.
The Major Minor LP was recorded in Slidell and remixed in Los Angeles by Dan Van Patten. Van Patten produced Berlin's Pleasure Victim album, and has also worked with Big Country and Nicky Chinn.
The songs, some new and some familiar, offer the sound of an uncorrupted band. Among Cold staples, "Girls Never Know" has a big drum sound, while the old Lesley Gore hit "That's the Way
Boys Are" is lustily sung by Barbara Menendez. Melody meets the big beat on "What Went Wrong Today", which is about as baroque a production as one could imagine the Cold attempting. "Let's Flip", a Radecker-Menendez duet, sounds more than a bit like Tracey Ullman fare, but with a very appealing guitar-keyboard interlude, beefy drumming, and a wonderfully devious melodic course.
As pop revisionists, the Cold continues to earn kudos. Such is the case with their aggressive reworking of a Smokey Robinson song "I Don’t Blame You at All". Robinson wrote and sang the original version in the verbose, breathless style of his "Tears of a Clown". The Cold's version is done at a furious pace, with staccato verses broken only by dramatic full stops, and its hard to imagine more action being packed into two minutes and 20 seconds.
Major Minor is the work of a still unspoiled rock band whose original ideals remain seemingly unaffected by exposure or routine. One still hears musical freshness, deft execution, and a hint of untapped resources. Still, given the Cold's on-and-off history, perhaps it wasn't surprising when Menendez walked into a sound check at Jimmy's last May  and informed the other members that that night's show would be her last with the Cold. Thus, it seems the Major Minor album will be the last recording we'll hear from New Orleans' favorite pop group of this era.