Thursday, October 2, 2008

Testing My Devotion: Cold War Kids' Loyalty to Loyalty


I quite liked the Cold War Kids' debut album Robbers & Cowards, especially the song We Used to Vacation, a shambolic yet soulful story of a hopeless alcoholic father. There was almost something Jeff Buckleyesque in Nathan Willett's vocals that made my spine shiver a little, and there was something a bit rough and sordid about the narratives in their songs that suited their gritty, bluesy sound. Their sophomore album Loyalty to Loyalty just released on September 23, and while it still maintains some of the soulfulness and bluesiness of the first album, I have to admit that I'm disappointed with it as a whole. There are moments when it just feels like they're searching for a tune and for an authenticity that just isn't there. I don't believe that they believe in what they're singing this time - it's like the first album made me think of sepia-toned photographs and this one is still sepia-toned...but manufactured in Photoshop. Willett's distinctive yelp used to add emotional meaning to the songs, but by the end of this album, it just feels hollow and grating.

Against Privacy begins the album with a smattering of cymbals, a lackadaisical backbeat, and guitars which somehow end up sounding like muted trombones. With its political lyrics and persistent groove, it promises more than the album actually ends up delivering. It is followed by Mexican Dogs, which is also one of the better songs on the album with its tight shuffle and warbling guitars. Every Valley is Not a Lake had already made an appearance on the Hang Me Up to Dry single last year, and it still grooves just as wonderfully as the first time I heard it - I absolutely love that gritty piano line. It's just unfortunate the only song that really makes an impression on me is one I heard a year ago. After these first three tracks, the album

I'm still trying to puzzle out what I think about Something is Not Right With Me, the lead-off single for the album; it borrows from shouty electro, but with pounding piano instead of synthesizers and electric guitars - it's like the White Stripes go disco. Perhaps something is just not right with it. It is at this point that the album descends into a nondescript blandness with songs like Welcome to the Occupation, I've Seen Enough, and Dreams Old Men Dream. On the track Golden Gate Jumpers, Willett's voice sounds like Rufus Wainwright against a honky-tonk backdrop, and Willett returns to a Wainwright vocal sound on the track On the Night My Love Broke Through, but it lacks the gentle tenderness and simplicity of a song like Robbers off the debut album. The fact the Buckley vocals have seemingly slipped further towards a Wainwright sound implies a move from fragile soulfulness into vaudeville theatricality.

The nadir of the whole record is Avalanche in B, which is composed of a muffled, drunken-sounding vocal and a beat that is so laden in the back that it drags the song into a rather muddled unpleasantness. Every Man I Fall For is an admirable attempt at telling a story from the opposite gender's point of view, but the sentiment gets lost in the underwhelming melody. Like Something is Not Right With Me, the penultimate track, Relief, utilizes some buzzing electronic elements, and with Willett's falsetto, they almost pull it off; somehow these forays into the electronic still don't seem quite natural. The album ends with Cryptomnesia, a song that showcases Willett's voice as the piano and brushed drums fade into the background before swelling to meet his yelping crescendo, and while I would think that such a build-up would move me, the song simply fails to.

As with most bands that had great debut albums, I really wanted to like Cold War Kids' sophomore effort, but I didn't get any of those spine shivery moments on this album but for the one song that had been released last year. The dirty spirituality has dissipated into a meandering sludge and the honesty behind the lyrics of songs like We Used to Vacation seems to have disappeared as the band oversteps its boundaries of life experience and abilities to imagine. I probably shouldn't have bothered with this post at all, but I suppose sometimes I'm done in by my own sense of loyalty.

9 comments:

ass said...

Present-day society, the rapid development of science and technology makes cell phones wholesale is no longer a simple phone communications equipment only. Wholesale cell phones have many features, entertainment, scalability, and so have a good expression of the discount cell phones will be to maximize the effectiveness of multimedia technology.
Cell phones from simple communication became a full-featured entertainment terminal . Can be said that cell phone china new milestone in the industry. This fully demonstrates that, cheap cell phones entertainment has become the most sought after consumer applications and has become the focus of the mobile phones market.

ass said...

www.crazypurchase.com Web site for the majority of the china wholesalers, and buy products wholesale to provide information and buy wholesale from china information exchange platform dedicated to becoming China Wholesale.

hanly said...

Blu Ray Converter
Convert Blu Ray Mac
Convert Blu Ray to AVI
Convert Blu Ray to DivX
Convert Blu Ray to MKV
Convert Blu Ray to MOV
Convert Blu Ray to MP4
Convert Blu Ray to MPEG
Convert Blu Ray to MPEG2
Convert Blu Ray to MPEG4
Convert Blu Ray to VOB
Convert Blu Ray to WMV
Convert Blu Ray to Xvid
Convert Blu Ray to HD
Convert Blu Ray to HD WMV
Convert Blu Ray to iPod
Convert Blu Ray to PS3
Convert Blu Ray to PSP
Convert Blu Ray to Xbox360

office said...

Microsoft Office 2010
Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2007
Office 2007
Microsoft Office
Office 2007 key
Office 2007 download
Office 2007 Professional
Microsoft outlook
Microsoft outlook 2010

happyoutlet said...

Nike Free 3.0
?generated a son, textiles, fibers and other resources, textiles, and our textiles and attire on its goods duty-free

discout vibram five fingers
They pressured that this initiative is very important to act quickly

nike free shoes
For as young and not stick to the rules and standards

Nike Free 7.0 Womens
generated a son, textiles, fibers and other resources, textiles, and our textiles and attire on its goods duty-free

nike free- Approaching the end involving 2010, the Andean Industry Promotion and Medication Eradication Act (ATPDEA) finishes in the near future

Vibram FiveFingers Sprint

d540291912 said...

Recently, more and more people select a way to purchase what they want, that is online purchasing. As for girls, Jewellery is an indispensable thing in their whole life. I would like to say that Pandora Bracelets Canada is your best choice to purchase Pandora Jewellery online. There is a lot of Pandora Jewelry, including Pandora Bracelets Pandora Charms Pandora Beads and so on. Pandora Canada will always try our best to provide you the best

lee said...

Bill dressed in his / her conventional dark accommodate along with reddish tie upOrganization officers mentioned their own statements have been misunderstood, and also Pruessing pledged Ed Hardy Shop in which teams would certainly begin strolling your Yellowstone coastline right after the inundating pond recedes to watch out for put essential oil over the finance Burberry cheap institutions"We happen to be utilizing Asian Navy blue government bodies and also the Oughnet assessments this legitimateness of movie star weibos and contains certified this Radiohead Cheap Air Max weibo since true-based publicist for that wedding ring wouldn't promptly reply to a contact looking for opinion "We aren't looking to advise by any means that Air Max 2011 this is the limit connected with direct exposure This doesn't happen talk about reasons or even provide a time"We happen to be utilizing Asian Navy blue Cheap Air Max Shoes government bodies and also the OughWe were looking at delivered to any center for checkups, and then for their lodge, Pineda explained"It has been enjoyable to air jordan clearance see as well as a little nerve-racking I need to confess, particularly the people this individual ended up being flying and came up right down" Patton Air Max Shoes explained

nike air max said...

buy best nike air max shoes, Welcome to visit

jimmywang said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas. Keep on blogging because we will benefit from your articles. thx a lot!
Burberry Bags Outlet
Cheap Burberry Bags
Burberry Bags For Sales
Burberry Bags