Cold War Kids
Robbers and Cowards


4.0
excellent

Review

by MBS USER (4 Reviews)
January 5th, 2008 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Full of soul and power, the Cold War Kids deliver a record that has a fresh and unique sound. Powerful vocals, funky rhythms and blues power fuel Robbers and Cowards, their debut LP.

It’s hard to accurately gauge what specific genre the Cold War Kids belong to. People insist that they are indie, yet others claim they move in the direction of harder rock. One man even claimed at a concert that they were “old people’s music”. (True story, some old guy came up to my friends and I and said “I’m glad to see young people are enjoying old people’s music.”) But, I digress. The point is, the Cold War Kids are probably one of the more individual acts in the indie scene at this moment. Fusing blues, rock and roll, and soul, the Kids engineered one of the more unique albums of 2006 with Robbers & Cowards, their debut LP.

The Kids are…
Nathan Willett – vocals, piano, guitars
Jonathon Bo Russell – vocals, piano, guitars
Matt Aveiro – drums, percussion
Matt Maust – bass

(They also hail from my native land, Long Beach, California. Represent.)

One of the most things that most definitely stand out in this record is the Kid’s groove. Aveiro is an extremely funky drummer, and it shows a great majority of the songs. The first two tracks We Used to Vacation and Hang Me Up To Dry are head-bobbing, foot-tapping soul filled blues songs. It’s hard to deny the fact that these songs are easily danceable and great to listen to. Saint John is another example of these songs that are very rhythm heavy. Maust and Aveiro coordinate very well to the point is easily likened to a wall, reinforcing the structure of every song on the album.

While the rhythm section of this band excels exceedingly, we also cannot forget the yin to that yang. Willett’s vocals are soulful, mourning and moving. Ranging from moving (Sermons V The Gospel, the hidden track of the album) to intimate Robbers to powerful (the climax of Passing the Hat), he pulls out all the stops and displays his impressive repertoire.

The pianos and guitars also add another layer to the music. At times, it can be very minimalist, but it works for the song. Hang Me Up To Dry for example, is 4 repeated notes and a solo, and it still is a crowd favorite. Their styling also fringes onto the point of primitive, with Willett going out of key in said song, and Russell even strumming a chord without fretting a single note. At first listen, these parts seem out of place and confusing, but after re-listens it becomes part of the song and it would sound unusual without it.

The lyrics here are of high quality and thought provoking. Robbers is a visual set in the life of “street thugs” and offers glimpses of underlying themes and morals. Sermons V The Gospel is another thought provoking song which almost channels the spirit of Bob Dylan, and the protest songs of the 1960’s with it’s words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbers
And all this life, we’ve glorified
Robbing from the blind is not easy, you see
Don’t think I don’t know sympathy
My victims in my shadow
Staring back at me…
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sermons V The Gospel
Got this idea in my head and I can't get it out
Cause all your money and all your culture
I can surely live without
A pile of treasures up on earth
What you keep and what you take
A property, vanity, and even knowledge for knowledge sake
and I said..

Lord, have mercy on me.
While the beginning of this album is fantastic, the end is where it begins to get lax. Pregnant is a song that just doesn’t seem to work with the rest of the album and ultimately brings it down as a whole. It’s rather boring and not as full of energy as the past songs were. Also, at this point in the album, the Kids sound like they are rehashing some of their material and it becomes a bit repetitive, which may or may not turn off certain people to the album. While the instruments are used in creative ways, there’s not that much technique involved in playing the songs, which can be disappointing to people as well.

Overall, this album is an extremely solid choice for people looking for a good more recent band. I recommend it to everyone who has an interest in indie music and rock and roll.

RATING: 4 out of 5

Pros:
Great instrumentation
Powerful vocals
Clever and visual lyrics
Funky and a fun listen

Cons:
Can get a bit stale
Not very complex


user ratings (273)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MBS
January 6th 2008


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My first bit of reviewing in a long, long, long time. I hope I did alright.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 6th 2008


15743 Comments


Surprised this is the first review for this album. Hang Me Up To Dry is a kickin tune.

roofi
January 6th 2008


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I want to get this.

Aficionado
January 6th 2008


1027 Comments


okay review

My friend loves this band, she always tries to get me into them. Hang MeUp To Dry is a decent song.

willfellmarsy
January 6th 2008


3849 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really good originally but lacks lasting power. Passing the Hat, Robbers, St. John, and Hospital Beds are all pretty good listens tho.

silverleaves
January 6th 2008


438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i wanted to review this, your review was good but i disagree that the album falters near the end, i think its strong all the way through
i really like cold war kids, they have this feel about them, its the perfect mix of blues and indie music, plus their lyrics are terrific, they have a great story tellign ability

HighandDriving
January 7th 2008


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to see these guys live, one of my favourite bands nowadays.

MBS
January 9th 2008


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, they're really awesome live.

Catchthe22
February 8th 2008


95 Comments


I like this band.

Avirov
December 6th 2008


1206 Comments


Kudos to this band purely for the fantastic lasting power.

Good review, honest and straightforward, gives a good feel of the music.

Ubicuo
August 30th 2009


56 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love the talent, ambition & the fusion of musically genres, sounds & eras in this band. they're pretty
raw & refreshing in comparison to the contemporary music scene to me…

shade
August 30th 2009


1198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty cool album.

Kiran
Emeritus
August 30th 2009


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

We Used To Vacation, Hang Me Up To Dry, and Hospital Beds are the only songs I really listen to anymore, which is a shame, because this is a great album

Digging: Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

AlexTM510
March 5th 2010


1404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules face

pitchfork review confuses me to now end.. I would think this is the kind of thing they would hail as the next big thing...instead they trashed it hah



Digging: Bent Knee - Shiny Eyed Babies

MotionSickness
June 21st 2010


15 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Such an amazing band live. Makes me wonder why they don't use live tracking in the studio? Anyways, terrific album.

HARDTOEXPLAIN
December 22nd 2010


16 Comments


Going to give this record a spin today

omnipanzer
January 18th 2011


21644 Comments


Going to finally get this and give it a listen today. The current single has my interest peaked. Edit:
I like it a lot. the last two tracks are the only thing that keeps this from a 4 for me.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2011


8019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

St. John is such a sweet tune

Activista anti-MTV
September 29th 2011


3148 Comments


This is an excellent review! I don't know what is holding more ppl from Pos'ing this! Excellent feel in this review as aforementioned. You did a great job of describing the music as well as their appeal to their indie audience. Very well done. As for the band, I like them. Their name is really creative, and they have an interesting take on the songs that they write as well as the music that they use to back the lyrics.

sportsboy
February 3rd 2012


640 Comments


saint john is so jammin



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