New album brings sonic lyrics and new sound
Cold War Kids, the indie-rock quartet from Long Beach, Calif., has made someÂ artistic strides, both sonically and lyrically, on its new album Mine Is Yours.
With Mine Is Yours, listeners will find that Cold War Kids still maintain some of the minimalist, abrasive edge that made Robbers & Cowards and Loyalty to Loyalty appealing records, with songs like âLouder Than Everâ and âRoyal Blueâ standing out.
âLouder Than Everâ engenders audio nostalgia that evinces the presence of old Cold War Kids quirks.
Front man Nathan Willettâs passionate voice scorches the ears, accompanied by the incessant clinking of drummer Matt Aveiroâs cymbals and the dissonant, chattery dialogue of Jonnie Russellâs guitar and Matt Maustâs bass.
Minimalism is still present in the quartetâs style, as heard on âRoyal Blueâ, a stirring song that starts with the simple beat of quasi-bongo drums.
The drums gradually evolve while being joined by simple, lilting guitar riffs and bass lines that, in conjunction and repetition, produce a mesmerizing effect.
In some cases, change can be a good thing and can produce tasteful improvements like in âMine Is Yours,â the first track on the album, and âBulldozer.â
The opening song launches with a peculiar synthesizer exploiting the Doppler effect and a gentle, vocal chant not characteristic of Cold War Kidsâ sound.
Despite the initial oddities, Willettâs later vocals retain the unique design of Cold War Kids, and the other musicians complement each other with nonchalant harmonies that envelope the listener.
âBulldozer,â the longest song on the album, contains some unfamiliar instrumental effects as well as a new twang in Willettâs voice.
The new effects compliment the musicians nicely, however, showing off the virtuosity of Russell, Maust and Aveiro and revealing Willettâs versatility as a singer.
The stylistic tweaks present in âMine Is Yoursâ and âBulldozerâ are bearable but in âFinally Begin,â the listener can blatantly hear gaudy effects on the instruments that make the musicians mesh together.
Aside from the obvious departures in sound, Willett has changed the band in a different, more ambitious way.
Past Cold War Kids songs, especially from Loyalty to Loyalty, contained made-up characters who possessed sinister flaws or underwent personal revelations, but songs on Mine Is Yours divulge details about Willett, ranging from interpersonal relationships to home-life.
âSensitive Kidâ is a revealing song about Willettâs growing pains.
The front man sings poignant lines like I tried being sweet / itâs buried deep in me and You climb it up, or you cut it down / This is your family tree, alternating between an aching singing-voice and rhythmic, expressive sighs.
Similar sentiments of disclosure can be heard in âBroken Open,â where Willett sings I have been broken open / Was a perfect gentleman / Now Iâm smashing champagne, tying cans / Feel like celebrating.
âBroken Openâ is a more uplifting piece than âSensitive Kidâ and some of the other tracks on the album, but it is nonetheless a song that pays tribute to a complex episode in Willettâs life.
Although some of the qualitative changes on Mine Is Yours err on the side of distasteful and prove uncharacteristic of Cold War Kidsâ aura, very few of the albumâs songs are inherently tainted and still have redeeming qualities.
Lyrically speaking, the quartetâs new album triumphs over previous records, as it zealously and boldly conquers new territory.
Mine Is Yours proves to be an album that portrays growth in self-revelation and musical experimentation.