Cold War Kids
Mine is Yours


3.5
great

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
January 24th, 2011 | 38 replies | 14,992 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kids grow up.

An eternal question in the indie industry – keep doggedly pursuing your artistic vision, maybe one defined by jagged bursts of post-punk and a singer whose just as likely to veer into screeching wails as he is a soulful hum, or get your *** together and make something perhaps more palatable for your average rock listener? It’s not too hard to see on what side Mine Is Yours falls – producer Jacquire King, whose behind-the-boards work catapulted Kings of Leon from Southern rock also-rans to multi-platinum lords of radio, is on hand, and singer Nathan Willett is content to focus on “love and relationships” in his lyrical matter. Top 40 listeners have something against hearing about family-ruining alcoholics, I guess. But what the band and King bring to the table now, however, is a refreshing tendency to keep things focused. It’s less a sacrifice to the gods of modern rock radio and more a bushwhacking of the Kids’ frustrating proclivity to fly off the rails on previous albums. Not that there wasn't something charming about it all on Robbers & Cowards or Loyalty to Loyalty, but Mine Is Yours largely succeeds on keeping the Kids’ songwriting strengths on track.

That songwriting, of course, is what separates Cold War Kids from your Neon Trees or your Saving Abel. From funk-inflected anthems (“Royal Blue”) to U2-esque mammoth rockers with arena aspirations (“Bulldozer”), Cold War Kids always have a outstanding hook on hand. Mine Is Yours never comes off as a chore to listen to, as some of the latter half of their earlier work did. For all their aversion to taking even the slightest of risks, you can’t help but admire the craftsmanship that went into a track like “Out of the Wilderness,” where a gently lilting ballad coalesces into one of Willett’s most fiery performances, buoyed by rolling drums and a bridge that frankly explodes. It’s good that the songs here are so strong, because when it comes to Willett’s lyrics, the MOR banality comes on a bit too strong. For a songwriter who was previously lauded for his ability to weave a tale, lyrics like “bulldozer clear a space for us / let’s rebuild this love on what we were” are embarrassing, ham-fisted platitudes. It adds a bit of an asterisk to fantastic tracks like “Broken Open,” where Willett engages in a conversation with a parking meter, but when the songs lift and soar like they more often than not do here, it’s not hard to be a little forgiving. It just makes it even more of a shame when some of the best lyrics on the record in “Sensitive Kid” are sabotaged by a drum machine funk that is as out of place as it is unbecoming of Mine Is Yours’ general direction.

So there’s a give and take at work on Mine Is Yours, one that fans of their earlier work will either love or hate. That essential dichotomy between staying true to your roots and aiming for more widespread success has been the ruin of many bands, but Cold War Kids really don’t give up too much here. Indeed, songs like hit-single-to-be “Louder Than Ever” and the thunderous climax of closer “Flying Upside Down” reveal a band that has always had the songwriting chops to stand out from their peers, one that perhaps just needed a steadying hand to realize it all over the course of an entire album. Something may have been lost in translation – there’s nothing as immediate as “We Used To Vacation” or as heart wrenching as “Hospital Beds,” and Willett truly seems to have thrown aside any artistic compunctions in his quest to write a lyric any ape could relate to. But Mine Is Yours is a damn good rock record through and through, and for a band to sit down and write eleven tunes that showcase the best of their bluesy, anthemic brand of indie with nary a misstep, well, there’s an accomplishment to be praised.



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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011



10325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i can understand why this is getting negative reviews in some quarters but think its a case of critics seeing this band trying to be successful / selling out and zinging them for it by calling them bland. but what they don't mention is that for the most part these are excellent songs, even if they are tamer relative to CWK's earlier output

Digging: Literature - Chorus

AggravatedYeti
January 24th 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

so do they sound more or less like Kings Of Leon this time?

AlexTM510
January 24th 2011



1400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Sweet review, I pretty much agree.

I too am also surprised of how the critics are handling this. Though i'm seriously waiting for pitchfork's review-I always imagined them loving the crap out of this band but instead they trash them pretty hard with past releases.



Digging: Sadistik - Ultraviolet

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011



10325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

more i guess, but i sort of refuse to listen to kings of leon because they suck. they sound like cold war kids

AggravatedYeti
January 24th 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I like the way you think Klapper.

DoubtGin
January 24th 2011



6749 Comments


"[i]Robbers & Cowards or Loyalty to Loyalty"

small error here

I liked their debut and didn't listen to their last one, but this one looks pretty interesting

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011



10325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gracias

SeaAnemone
January 24th 2011



20012 Comments


Yay for agreeing!

I think I was more surprised at this than you were though

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011



10325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

surprised at the direction?

SeaAnemone
January 24th 2011



20012 Comments


well, at the quality

maybe not

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011



10325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah ive never been like a HUGE fan (although certain songs i absolutely love i.e. 'we used to vacation'), but i guess i was pretty surprised at the overall consistency here

Romulus
January 24th 2011



8423 Comments


these guys are playing near me and all my friends are like RYAN COME but i've never heard this band except 'hang me out to dry' obviously. would i enjoy/would they put on a nice show?

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011



10325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they put on a pretty good show, i'm seeing them at coachella again. last time i saw them was a bar and it was legit

Romulus
January 24th 2011



8423 Comments


sweet thanks, i'll probably give this a listen either way

OutOfMyself
January 24th 2011



688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Downloading this now, I look forward to hearing it.

JohnGrady
January 24th 2011



153 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Loved their other albums and def. miss songs like Robbers, Golden Gate Jumpers and Sermons but overall this album blows their previous stuff out of the water.

SwayzeFaced
January 24th 2011



349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been listening to this album since the stream came out the other day.... and im not upset by it.. as you say they are good songs. i just was expecting so much more. going from a poppy album like robbers and cowards to a dark jazzy album like loyalty to loyalty, i just did not think they would go the route of bright and shiny since they do brash and bluesy so well.



Winsomniac
January 24th 2011



7968 Comments


Very well written. It reads a little bit higher than a 3.5, but I liked it overall.


Will check out.

exredhouseresident
January 25th 2011



126 Comments


THe disparity between the first half and the second half of the album is a cause for concern for me. Its not that the first half sucks absolutely, but its a lot of effects and characteristics more particularly common among commercial music there. As an avid fan of the occult, the uncommon, and shit, I can't help but feel the first portion of the album is over produced and draws away from the emotionality that such an individualistic and soulful band like Cold War Kids had exuded in their earlier releases. A friend of mine said something like, "they're trying to get that Black Keys money". I wouldn't say they've sold out, but I wouldn't say they've progressed either. Certainly wouldn't say they've grown up; the subject matter on both debut and sophomore albums are leaps and bounds of gloom ahead of Mines is Yours. I'm half disappointed with this album, and half intrigued.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2011



10325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mentioned how I felt the actual subject matter has gotten worse, or at least certainly less interesting. I still think the actual songs and hooks are superb



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