Cold War Kids

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Written by: TL on 11/05/2013 10:13:46

Arriving at their fourth album now, Long Beach quartet Cold War Kids can fairly be called established by now. They broke a hole into wider awareness already with "Hang Me Up To Dry", the hit from 2007 debut "Robbers And Cowards", and across their now four full lengths, the band has done as good bands do, trying out different nuances of American rock tradition on their characteristic indie-rock sound, yet always sounding distinctly like themselves in their different leanings. The characteristic vocal work of high-voiced singer/guitarist/pianist Nathan Willett likely has a lot to do with this, as his performance continues to be the sort you can hardly mistake for anyone else, and add moody the instrumentation and engaging take on song-writing, fans of similar bands like Delta Spirit, Kings Of Leon and even the faux-Americana of the latest Mystery Jets record, can safely consider Cold War Kids as a go-to-band for helpings of catchy indie songs.

Newest opus "Dear Miss Lonelyhearts" seems to only extend this reliability, opening with arguably its strongest song "Miracle Mile", which immediately moves into your brain with its up-beat tempo and the catchy call/response of the chorus. And moving on from it, I get the feeling that the coating Cold War Kids have given this new record, is vaguely similar to the New Springsteen-ism of The Killers albums like "Sam's Town" and "Battle Born". The elements sound electronic and polished, but the dusty, expansive atmospheres are clearly traditional.

As usual with these guys however, it feels more like a nuance than something that either runs away with the album or sets a new trend in the music scene. Not that either would have bothered me, because maybe that's what continues to miss in my encounter with the band. You see as we do move on, across recognisable, solidly written song after recognisable, solidly written song, I'm still stuck with the feeling that while Cold War Kids are making an impression they're not quite moving me (also felt in how I've dutifully spun this record loads of times in past weeks, yet without ever realling feeling the crucial joy of looking forward to it).

The hurdle I reckon, is a slew of songs across the mid-section that feel slightly below the band's top-level. The opening trio of "Miracle Mile", "Lost That Easy" and "Loner Phase" all make their individual marks, and late-album inclusions like "Jailbirds" and the closing duo of "Dear Miss Lonelyhearts" and "Bitter Poem" also sound like they belong on a bigger, better album than this one at least appears to me. Tracks four to six repeatedly sends my attention elsewhere though, appearing slightly like filler type material, and that is enough for me to consider "Dear Miss Lonelyhearts" a slightly less memorable album overall - and hence a slight step away from the promised grade of 8 - compared to its predecessor "Mine Is Yours".

Download: Miracle Mile, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, Lost That Easy, Jailbirds,
For The Fans Of: Mystery Jets, Delta Spirit, Kings Of Leon, The Killers
Listen: facebook.com/ColdWarKids

Release Date 02.04.2013
Downtown, V2

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