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Cold War Kids - Loyalty To Loyalty

Cold War Kids, Loyalty To Loyalty

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

CALIFORNIA four-piece Cold War Kids look to emulate the success of their well-received debut album Robbers & Cowards with sophomore effort, Loyalty To Loyalty.

As good as the ensuing 13 songs are at times, though, the album does tend to sum up all that’s good and bad about the band.

At their best, they can combine some superb guitar and piano melodies, set against the striking vocal style of frontman Nathan Willett. But equally, they can also sound a little too pretentious, a little too experimental and a little too whiney. Willet, for his part, is both their saving grace and their downfall.

The album begins extremely well, with opening track Against Privacy emerging as an instant classic courtesy of its restrained guitar work, forthright lyrics and reigned in style. It’s a tremendously classy opening salvo that bodes well for what’s to come, evoking memories of The Raconteurs and The White Stripes.

In many ways, though, the remainder of the LP struggles to maintain such quality. Mexican Dogs cuts a more funky strut with a rollicking bassline and some foreboding riffs, and it still keeps the album in your good graces.

While the pianos make a striking entrance on Every Valley Is Not A Lake and there’s a nice electronic pulse and boom-boom back-beat to Something Is Not Right With Me, which probably showcases their ability to marry guitars and pianos at its best.

The jangling guitars, vibrant percussion and hangdog piano of Welcome To The Occupation also keeps the album working fine. But then it seems to change pace and a slower, more deliberate style creeps in with Golden Gate Jumpers.

Avalanche In B, the track that immediately follows, is just plain painful – the instrumentation stripped right back to piano and Willet’s whiny vocals brought to the fore… but not to good effect.

I’ve Seen Enough and Every Man I Fall For are similarly disappointing and depressing, eschewing the positive energy of the early part of the album for a more sombre, pained approach.

It’s not until Relief, which contains some strong bassline grooves and an almost falsetto vocal from Willet, that the album gets back on track, before Cryptomnesia draws it to a slow-burning, layered, yet somehow epic close.

By then, though, opinion may be torn between just how good the album really is. In my opinion, however, it’s a much more stuttering offering than their lively debut… even though they remain one of California’s more interesting indie acts.

Download picks: Against Privacy, Every Valley Is Not A Lake, Relief, Something Is Not Right With Me

Track listing:

  1. Against Privacy
  2. Mexican Dogs
  3. Every Valley Is Not A Lake
  4. Something Is Not Right With Me
  5. Welcome To The Occupation
  6. Golden Gate Jumpers
  7. Avalanche In B
  8. I’ve Seen Enough
  9. Every Man I Fall For
  10. Dreams Old Men Dream
  11. On The Night My Love Broke Through
  12. Relief
  13. Cryptomnesia

  1. Don’t agree.. Cold War Kids are awesome. And Nathan’s voice is what makes them so…

    Jeremy    Sep 30    #