Cold War Kids Mine Is Yours
On their 2006 debut, Robbers And Cowards (and to a lesser extent on 2008’s Loyalty To Loyalty), Cold War Kids scratched out a sort of rag-and-bone sophistication, turning scavenged bits of clattering indie-rock, needling blues riffs, and Nathan Willett’s soulful howl into something raw and romantic. If Robbers And Cowards were a person, the new Mine Is Yours would be staring down at it disdainfully from a penthouse window. Described by Willett as “richer and classier,” the group’s third effort lolls in the lap of studio-gloss luxury provided by Kings Of Leon producer Jacquire King, seemingly aspiring toward an acceptably middlebrow sound that can be slotted between songs by Train and The Script on modern-rock radio. Every edge is dulled for maximum accessibility, dominated by guitars blanched in soggy reverb and bombastic, uninspired melodies, while Willett avoids the jagged wails that used to give them anxiety and suspense. The lyrics are just as formless, with the details so prosaic on songs like “Royal Blue” and the rom-com-ready “Finally Begin,” Willett could be singing about falling in love, finding Jesus, or the security of a good credit rating. Cold War Kids offer slight reminders of their old black magic on the creeping thrum of “Sensitive Kid” and the artfully arranged builds of “Bulldozer,” but for the most part, Mine Is Yours is the bland sound of a band trading identity for ambition.