Review Summary: Can we skip the charades, just be plain?
No surprises, here, and no stripper is popping out of this cake, because Mine Is Yours
is a welcome refinement of every struggle the Cold War Kids have encountered in their short career. Retaining the trademark majestic and bluesy, indie-rock aesthetic, the Californians are still howling along to bouncy chords, but doing so in a more calculated, polished fashion. While they’ve enjoyed success, their path hasn’t been without a few hiccups. Loyalty to Loyalty
was as redundant as its namesake. Robbers and Cowards
was critically acclaimed, but also as powerful as it was messy and unruly. Mine Is Yours
matches up against Cold War Kids’s others as the seminal album where the band reigns in everything that makes their catchy, rhythmic, romping so appealing, but in a much more deliverable package.
Their name something of a misnomer, Cold War Kids have never been one for pretension, opting for foot-tapping memorable one-liners over more intricacies (that would only serve to hinder their delivery, anyway) or songs about the anguish of being a child during a world crisis. Mine Is Yours
perfectly highlights this strength, the lightheartedness. The poppier venture at hand begins with a tame title track, complete with uplifting hand-clap-infused effort and, despite the fast-talking bridge that brings new meaning to the adjective “cheesy,” succeeds in setting up Mine Is Yours
for success. Cold War Kids sacrifice grittiness for likability, as can be heard in the sparkling production. Still, the deep guitar tones and pounding cymbals to complement Nathan Willett’s crystal-clear tone make sure that soulful aura is retained, and in effect Mine Is Yours
clenches everything that made Robbers and Cowards
so affecting in the first place-- the passion, the energy, the undeniable catchiness.
Saving their sound from being lost in the poppy production and soaring choruses is one thing, but Cold War Kids had to add some
thing to separate Mine Is Yours
as their defining record to date. Look no further than the newfound consistency. Albeit the tepid start, the ensuing album is entirely rhythmic jelly, sliding to and fro heralded in only by the concrete percussion in the background. Nary a dud can be found on Mie Is Yours,
much to the chagrin of their back catalog in their 2011 album’s rearview mirror. The album flows rather nicely, to say the least, especially compared to Loyalty to Loyalty
’s glaring inconsistencies. Nathan Willett’s deep drawl carries the album (as always), and he isn’t afraid to stretch his chords a little further than their abilities allot. Check “Bulldozer” to hear Willett hit notes he hasn’t attempted since he yelled along to “Hang me out to dryyyyyy”
so exuberantly two LP’s ago.
There’s still an obvious standout in “Louder Than Ever,” the most single-worthy hit since “Hang Me Out To Dry,” but Cold War Kids have surely crafted an album surrounding it worth listening to. The slow-paced yet hard-hitting “Sensitive” and memorable “Skip the Charades” display a bit of diversity, just enough to make the entirety a listening experience rather than the usual Cold War Kids listening-pattern: skip-skip-play-skip-skip-play. The band must have realized they had little fodder for a palpably innovative approach to their sound, but you won’t hear me complaining. Mine Is Yours
is a welcome refinement of all the potential so evident on past releases, and embodiment of a band I feel uncomfortable still labeling as “Kids” with such a mature, self-aware release.