Cold War Kids - Mine is Yours

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6 Release Date:2011-01-24

As Kings of Leon's Only By the Night was doing the rounds on radios and in arenas worldwide, a lot of bands must have been looking at the success of the Followill brothers with great envy. Cold War Kids must surely fall into this category. A band with a unique, niche sound whose latest release, Mine is Yours, seems to be their attempt to streamline their sound into a radio friendly, stadium ready rock.

Those who bought into the ramshackle sound of Robbers and Cowards or the tight focused lyrics of Loyalty to Loyalty will have a shock awaiting them. The opener, and titular track is a rousing effort with feel-good whoa-ing, and it's a case of start-as-we-mean-to-go-on when single 'Louder Than Ever' delivers more of the same. It's a far cry from the roots of a band that began by banging plywood around in a room with a rag-tag piano and bashed up guitars. Nathan Willett filled the first two records with social observations and tales of scoundrels, lovers and religion. Now he seems content to use the clichés of "finally I let you inside" on 'Finally Begin', which is also filled with the kind of reverb guitars so beloved of middle-of-the-road bands. In fact there is very little to quote lyrically as most of it amounts to faceless, inoffensive and non-specific meanderings. 'Royal Blue' also dives right into the sensitive self-observation but manages to step around the plain melodies and instrumentation which drags down most of the other songs.

It's not all doom and gloom, however, as 'Sensitive Kid' tells of youths from homes with marital difficulties and 'Cold Toes on the Cold Floor' allows the buzzing guitar and eerie organ to lend the band room to swagger and play in a way which you can tell they really enjoy. To return to the earlier comparison with Kings of Leon; this album is the equivalent of Because of the Times, also a third album, whereby the band expands on its sound at the expense of some of their more strange and appealing characteristics.

If you were to take a positive look at this you might say all good bands change their sound and will lose, then gain fans in equal amounts, but it doesn't feel genuine. If they wanted a wider audience and a better chance of landing hits on the radio then they are moving in the right direction. But for the fans of something different, with a more slanted take on the world (as with their first two albums) it might be time to part ways and wish them well. Maybe one day they will see the error of this oft trodden path and return to a dingy old room to make some noise and let out some soul.

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