Album Review: Cold War Kids’ “Mine Is Yours”

Cold War Kids Mine Is Yours

The days of Robbers and Cowards are gone. The Behave Yourself EP was a superb shot at redemption from the Cold War Kids’ sophomore effort, Loyalty to Loyalty, but all the band proved was that they were still capable of taking a step backwards. Nathan Willet’s signature high-pitched, soulful croon and his deeply narrative lyrics still reign supreme, and the latter proves to be the downfall of this album.  It’s plain and simple: the songs on Mine Is Yours are just too long. With just four of the 11 tracks clocking in under four minutes, the songs seem to drag and are dominated by repetitive riffs and chord progressions that cause listeners to quickly lose interest.

The lead single, “Louder Than Ever,” was miraculously corralled to a shorter duration, but the tedious slow pace of the chorus and the uninteresting vocal riff of the title line set the tone for the rest of the album. To give the band some credit, the contents of Willet’s lyrics are still powerful, but he seems to have moved on from creating memorable characters to writing strongly autobiographical pieces, such as “Sensitive Kid,” revealed in a 2010 interview to be about his experiences dealing with his parents’ divorce.

While Mine Is Yours doesn’t produce tracks anywhere near the caliber of “We Used to Vacation,” “Hospital Beds,” or “Coffee Spoon” and struggles to maintain most of the raw energy that seemed to define the band’s purpose, songs like “Royal Blue” and “Finally Begin” were pleasant surprises. Coincidentally, they were also under four minutes long.

I could do without the overly-textured feel and the melancholy tone set by Willet. Cold War Kids has always been sort of an acquired taste, and having songs that were at times painfully long didn’t help bolster my opinion of them. This album didn’t impress me in the slightest, and I hope a return to the drawing board yields a much better result on their next effort.

– Sam Clark


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