Monday, February 23, 2009

Album Review: Cold War Kids - Loyalty To Loyalty

Something is not right with me. I know what you’re thinking. “Yes…we know this Tom. We’ve known this since you were in diapers and your current behavior continues to reinforce this widely known fact”. Well, sorry to disappoint you (jerks) but I am referring to track #4 on Cold War Kids latest offering - Loyalty To Loyalty. This is one of those “late-bloomer albums” for me as I believe it was released back in the fall. Something Is Not Right With Me was the first track I heard and for some reason I thought for a split-second that it was off of their debut album Robbers & Cowards which came out a number of years ago. SINRWM is a killer track sonically with great lyrics…which in turn made me pick up the album. After listing to Loyalty To Loyalty I wondered why I didn’t listen to the last album more. Loyalty to Loyalty is a truly excellent album. What’s unique about this band is primarily Nathan Willets vocal delivery and the lead guitar sound similar to bands like the Walkmen, Pinback or Modest Mouse (pre-Johnny Marr). Tracks like Dreams Old Men Dream are prime examples of this sound. I think the reason I didn’t go full force into the last album was that I thought the vocals on the most popular tracks like Hang Me Up To Dry or Hospital Beds were alt-pretentious and the hype around the band turned me off. Hype amongst critics who were more trend followers/buzz agents than appraisers of good music. I saw Cold War Kids interviewed recently and they seem like a grounded group of musicians. They’re “good people”. Loyalty to Loyalty starts out with Against Privacy which is almost a mission statement-like opener setting the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a mellow track that just builds into the last minute of chugging loud guitar riffs (I love build-ups). If Against Privacy is the novel forward then Mexican Dogs is chapter one which makes you say to yourself. “Well all right…we’re moving now”. Cold War Kids uses synthesizers moderately in tracks like SINRWM and Relief but it melds well with the guitar/vocals. It’s not just thrown in there to differentiate one indie rock band from another or make them seem “new-wavey” (just made that up). A number of songs on L2L are bluesy in concept but something if everyone ripped down shotguns of Jolt Cola. There are a few mega-mellow sleepers like Avalanche in B and Every Man I Fall For but the lyrics are still great. The second single that caught my ear was I’ve Seen Enough. What a STELLAR track. Slow/Fast switch-up that rocks along with some guitar fills that in my opinion wasn’t amplified enough when it was recorded. I saw them live on Conan and it’s those loud signature fills that give them their signature sound. Oh well. Pick this one up. If you can get accustomed to the vocals then you’ll be completely satisfied with Loyalty To Loyalty. DOWNLOAD THIS: Something Is Not Right With Me, I’ve Seen Enough, Relief

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