Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
Cold War Kids
On Cold War Kids’ breakout debut album, 2006’s Robbers & Cowards, the Long Beach quartet’s signature clanging piano keys, off-kilter guitar and murky bass notes collude with Nathan Willett’s soaring, gospel-like vocals for an unusually raw and soulful listen. Recreating the success of “Hang Me Up to Dry” has proved difficult for the group, however. The band’s politically minded 2008 follow-up, Loyalty to Loyalty, was overbearingly loud and bluesy, lacking their debut’s finesse, while 2011’s Mine Is Yours suffered from the opposite problem—Willett’s throaty squall had settled into an easygoing Tracy Chapman emulation, and the band’s jarring instrumentation had mellowed into a barely there, radio-tame purr. Thankfully the group strikes a nice balance on their latest record, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, their most consistently enjoyable album since their debut.