Cold War Kids: Mine Is Yours
Cold War Kids faced a dilemma after the release of their second album. ‘Loyalty To Loyalty’, an album that embraced dissonance and bracing songs, was not well received. Nathan Willett's vocals were almost excruciating at times, and the album as a whole was unsettlingly bleak. If they returned to the sound of 'Robbers And Cowards' they would be accused of playing it safe, yet if they pushed things forward there was the fear that they would come out even worse.
They went for the second option, and while opinions will vary on whether they pulled it off or not, we reckon they’ve done it, and the result is what is probably their best album yet. There are plenty of potential singles on it (whereas its predecessor only really had two songs that were viable in that respect), which is enough to indicate that the Californian group have rediscovered melody.
Put it all together and you have an album that manages to be both immediate and a fantastic grower. ‘Mine Is Yours’ sets out its stall straight away with the title track, an almost-Kings of Leon-like anthem that soars gracefully thanks to the frontman’s voice, which (now he is not doing his best to sound like nails on a chalkboard) reasserts itself as the band’s best asset as he belts out lines like, 'I don't own the sun, I don't own the moon / They only come out when they want to, they don't care whether I promised you'. There are myriad other impressive performances present, such as those on ‘Out Of The Wilderness’ and ‘Sensitive Kid’
The latter is a synth-driven track that finds CWK stepping well out of their comfort zone, but when they want to rely on their strengths and pen straight-ahead songs, they excel, and this is no more evident than on the album’s finest moment, ‘Skip The Charades’, which is the closest they’ve come to writing something genuinely euphoric, even if the song’s lyrics deal with the idea of having to cover up problems to save face.
Considering the album, as a whole, deals with the fact that some of Willett's old friends are now in their thirties and married, there could have been some real clunkers in the lyrical department to let it down, but there's nothing of the sort, right across the board. Strong melodies, strong lyrics - as far as the band are concerned, their new album ticks all the boxes, but the real power in 'Mine Is Yours' lies in its capacity as a grower, particularly in its second half, as songs like 'Cold Toes On The Cold Floor' only start to reveal themselves on repeated listens.
Cold War Kids took another risk with this record, one that clearly signals their intentions to fill stadia. They’re still setting their standards high (I speak as one of the small group of people who actually - wait for it - prefer ‘Loyalty’ to the debut, if only by a whisker), so nothing has changed in that case, but in delivering their strongest set of songs to date they have once more found that which made them great in the first place. Melody and honesty can get you places, and you don’t to look any further than this to find proof. ‘Mine Is Yours’? Thanks very much. [GO’M]
Audiovisuals: Louder Than Ever