Cold War Kids
Loyalty to Loyalty


3.0
good

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
January 23rd, 2009 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kids' latest succeeds or fails on whether Nathan Willett can hit the right notes.

Indie rock derived from the back roads of some of the best Americana music tradition is not a particularly new idea nowadays, as bands struggle to try to outdo each other with a sound that hasn’t hit it big yet. The National, Band of Horses, Midlake, dozens of bands are lining up for a swing at that big ‘ole ‘70s bluesy sound. Luckily for Fullerton, CA band Cold War Kids, they’ve already made a name for themselves with 2006’s critically acclaimed Robbers & Cowards, a vibrant piece of indie rock that incorporated the best of old-school blues and backwoods country rock. The Kids wade in even deeper on Loyalty to Loyalty, and while much of this sophomore effort captures the urgency of their debut, at times the Kids drag rather than kick things up.

Singer Nathan Willett is a big reason for the band’s appeal, a divisive vocalist with a raw, less trained Jeff Buckley-ish set of pipes and a penchant for preaching. But just as he uplifts some of Loyalty’s best songs with a raspy passion on the down ‘n dirty “Mexican Dogs” or with smart lyrics on the thumping drums and sexy rhythm of “I’ve Seen Enough,” his voice can turn from interesting and fresh to grating and intolerable with just a few misplaced falsettos. Single “Something Is Not Right With Me,” although musically spot-on, is derailed by Willett’s ranting shouts, while the band’s decision to lift Willett’s vocals way above everything else on the much-too-slow “Avalanche B” and the otherwise catchy “I’ve Seen Enough” make one wish Willett took more lessons.

The rest of the band is as on top of their style as ever before, cranking out track after track of irrepressibly bluesy, bar band-esque rockers that roar along on menacing guitar (“Mexican Dogs”) or lilting, jazzy piano melodies (“Every Valley Is Not A Lake”). And while closing songs like “Relief” collapse under the weight of their own pretensions and Willett’s howling, a tasteful mood piece like “Golden Gate Jumpers,” with one of the record’s best lyrics and melodies, remind one why Cold War Kids became famous in the first place.



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user ratings (144)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2009


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A little bit short, trying to keep my diarrhea of the written word down. Let me know what you think.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 23rd 2009


10204 Comments


Summary is a good idea but needs re-wording I think, 'succeeds and fails in parallel with Nathan Willett's ability to hit the right note.' Dunno.

Decent review though. Succinct, informative. I haven't heard any of these guys' stuff, where should I start?

PuddleSwimmer
January 23rd 2009


1457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'We Used To Vacation'

'Hang me Up To Dry'

'Hospital Beds' off of Robbers & Cowards



'Ive Seen Enough' def a highlight of this one, so is the single and so is 'Mexican Dogs'

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2009


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely with Robbers & Cowards, check out "We Used To Vacation" and "Hang Me Up To Dry," probably can find both of those on YouTube.

roofi
January 23rd 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Robbers and Cowards is a lot better, but this is still pretty solid.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2009


22486 Comments


Wow, can't believe this didn't have a review. I thought one of the staffers would have been certain to pounce on this.
I know what you mean about cutting down on the wording Rudy & I think you did a pretty darn good job here. It probably needs an extra paragraph or so, but for a 3 paragraph review, you have definitely given enough information & opinion in a clear & easy to read manner. Good stuff.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2009


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed, Davey. Thanks for the positives.

AggravatedYeti
February 2nd 2009


7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this album kinda sucks

their debut was good, but all that corniness and cliches they were some how able to transcend on 'Robbers & Cowards' -- they don't even seem to attempt it here.

AlexTM510
February 9th 2009


1455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

A bit short...would have put a little more for a conclusion.



Otherwise great review.....



This took me a really long time to get into. They like unbearably outstretched themselves on this.

MotionSickness
June 21st 2010


15 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really hit and miss. A lot of good tunes, but the few duds bring it down a bit.

JohnGrady
June 28th 2010


157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The first time I heard the end of Against Privacy I was cracking up it was so sick.

barcafan21
September 23rd 2012


2768 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this sound is soooooooooooo refreshing

Digging: Kero Kero Bonito - Time 'n' Place



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