The third full length album for Long Beach band Cold War Kids Mine is Yours
takes a leap from their scrambling tumble of full-throttle alternative indie rock and finds itself with a cultivated record of radio-friendly, soulful tracks. Typically, the Cold War Kids are loved and admired for edgy melodies and the strident charisma of vocalist Nathan Willett's voice, as is found on previous albums Robbers and Cowards
and Loyalty to Loyalty
. Though this background is clear within Mine is Yours
, it is also clear that it's now their background. Fans of the abrupt clamor that drove records past may be surprised and even disappointed at this transition, but admittedly, the sound will probably gain a wider range of listeners and lend to a less critical ear.
Although the degree of positive reception will vary depending on reaction to this change, Mine is Yours
still delivers punch within its distinguished development. The song "Mine is Yours" begins the record and is not only the perfect opener, but is also a well chosen title track. It takes a full minute to swing into its rhythm as the volume builds and Willett belts out a lyric-less echo of the melody, almost as if they are slowly easing you into the introduction of the band's sonic evolution. The album itself does not stand out for considerable diversity, but none of the songs are devoid of flavor or completely worth skipping. The individual tracks carry a range of building verses, catchy choruses, and expressive break downs within the length of each song. They favor a symphonic sound, and tracks like "Skip the Charades", "Sensitive Kid", and "Flying Upside Down" come to life with passionate lyrics and stirring rhythm. The lyrics assist the emotional depth that is the stand out force behind Mine is Yours
; it communicates the fervently reflective tone of the record as a whole.
This emotional exploration does not fall into depressive angst; rather, it takes on an introspectively soulful search that is both relatable and resilient, even within evident pain. "Out of the Wilderness" throws itself into a lay-it-on-the-line attitude that revs up its slower, more thoughtful, moments. "Bulldozer" is a song that could be accidentally skipped if judged too early, but emphatically transforms into sure-fire intensity and is one of the best songs on the album. "Louder than Ever", the album's first single, is slightly more reminiscent of the band's former crisp-cutting sound when compared to the succinct, yet catchy, simplicity of tracks like "Finally Begin". "Royal Blue" continuously stabilizes its deceptively dull moments with redeeming hooks and Willett's endearingly bluesy vocal take on a lower key. "Broken Open" may be the least exciting song on the album, but is followed by "Cold Toes on the Cold Floor", which holds a distant reflection of the dragging beat commitment to an undertone of darkness like that of The Beatles' "Come Together". The final track, "Flying Upside Down", encapsulates the overall sound of Mine is Yours
and, just like its title, continuously builds as if it is about to take flight. This successfully wraps up the album with the promising ring of change that it takes on.
Those indie music sticklers who are loyal to originality may not be thrilled with this borderline commercial sound, which holds hints of a One Republic and Kings of Leon fusion. Though this is not exactly what you would normally think of to describe Cold War Kids, the band's shift into a mainstream direction does not swallow their quirky charm. It remains heavy on the riffs and demonstrates an unapologetic belief in their commitment to the music that they have chosen to create.
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