The Music Box: Train Stops A-Rollin’ With Cold War Kids’ “Mine Is Yours”

by Mike Mehalick

Track Listing:

  1. Mine Is Yours
  2. Louder Than Ever
  3. Royal Blue
  4. Finally Begin
  5. Out Of The Wilderness
  6. Skip The Cahrades
  7. Sensitive Kid
  8. Bulldozer
  9. Broken Open
  10. Cold Toes On The Cold Floor
  11. Flying Upside Down

Release Date: 1/25/11

The Review:

Admittedly, I was never really the biggest Cold War Kids fan from the start. Back in 2007 they opened up for Muse at Madison Square Garden playing a set I was inclined to call “the most boring” I had ever seen. Now to be fair, not many bands can match the explosive, virtuoso energy that Muse bring to the stage, so a couple years later it made sense to re-visit this indie rock outfit from Long Beach.

The band’s debut Robbers & Cowards is worthy of the buzz it generated in 2006 and the follow up Loyalty to Loyalty fell a little bit short of beating the sophomore slump. In 2011 Cold War Kids are as big as they have ever been, looking poised to headline Radio City Music Hall and dominate the second or third lines of festival posters everywhere. All of this stems from the need to promote their third album Mine Is Yours and we’d like to focus on the word “promote.”

Employing a serious step up in production qualities, Mine Is Yours plays like Kings of Leon meets My Morning Jacket blended together into some kind of mid-level energy Indie-Rock trope. Shimmering guitars and ever-present booming percussion do bring a certain amount of charm to the proceedings. Highlights include “Sensitive Kid”, “Royal Blue”, and “Broken Open.” Even the improved vocal mix brings Nathan Willett’s croon to its deserved fore.

“Sensitive Kid”

But at what point does all this pass for the norm? Frighteningly this album reaches for the same kind of romanticized, washed out soundscapes and themes that we’ve already heard in other mediocre alt-radio rock.

“Royal Blue”

So about that word, “promote.” It is clear from start to finish that Cold War Kids has made a bit of a play to tap into a certain market that jumps for the West Coast malaise present in jean commercials and MTV cutaways.  What this album so clearly lacks, as was what made their debut so promising, is the diversity in sound from track to track. If you were to listen to the first five minutes, walk away, and jump back in at any point it is likely you wouldn’t recognize too much of a change from before.

“Broken Open”

Mine Is Yours is not a bad album, It’s just disappointing, which may be worse. One could argue that the consistency in style throughout the album is a strong point and you’d be right. That being said, the charm and energy that was present in the early days of Cold War Kids has faded in favor of a more focused machine, and in this particular instance, that may not be the best thing for this band. I’m curious as to how my opinion of them would have been different had they been promoting it in 2007. Likely though, it would be the same as it was back then, which is unfortunate. Overall, Mine Is Yours is a stall on the track for these Indie-Rock cowboys, but not anything that should de-rail them going forward.

The Rating: 2.5/5

About rote7123

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May 2011 with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Professional Writing, as well as a degree in Communication Studies. He has held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet's Arts & Entertainment section, and has contributed to The Aquarian Weekly all while being the sole operator of Asbury Park's premier music news outlet Speak Into My Good Eye.
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