Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cold War Kids - Loyalty to Loyalty

I’ve been writing about the Cold War Kids for 2+ years now. I’m not obsessed, but I definitely like their swagger and brand of music. Their debut Robbers and Cowards was an exceptional debut that was highly regarded among the blogosphere (what a stupid word) and print media. The influences and similarities between them and Spoon, The White Stripes and the Walkmen are readily apparent. The low-fi sound is one that suits them quite nicely. It gives their sound a grittiness that is all too often faked to cover up other inadequacies. On the contrary, I enjoy Cold War Kids for having a sound that is unique while sounding familiar. Aside: I have to address this blogging tendency that has annoyed me for a while. I’ve mentioned how there is so much pressure on a band for a stellar sophomore release and much of the pressure comes the imediacy of the blogs. This point was made perfectly by Paste Magazine: “Music blogs are like bad boyfriends. They take a heretofore unknown band, make them feel special with much frothing keyboard clickity-clack, turn them into rock stars, then suddenly lose their number when the next well-coiffed strumpet in skinny jeans strolls by. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tapes ’n Tapes are probably still, right now, sitting in their living rooms decked out in mascara-smeared prom dresses waiting for Pitchfork to pick them up, wondering why their respective follow-up albums were greeted with such a resounding chorus of crickets.” With all this said, Cold War Kids are back (as if they ever left) with their follow-up album.

Loyalty to Loyalty is a respectable follow-up that is more nuanced and interesting than its predecessor except it lacks the high percentage of potent 180-proof shots/songs such as “Hang Me Up To Dry.” In other words, Loyalty to Loyalty may be better as a whole, but Robbers and Cowards proved to have more singles. This usually means there are more high and low points, but on the newest album it’s just more even throughout. The high points are still really great, but the misses don’t fall as flat. With this being said, I still need a few more listens to see how the album really holds together. The debut was full of so much energy and raw energy that was infectious. Now that I know what to expect, and what they’re capable of are my standards too high? Would it have been possible for my expectations to have been exceeded? I don’t know. It’s just great to have more new tunes from the Cold War Kids.

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