Under Review: Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours

Since debuting in 2006 with the ramshackle Robbers & Cowards, Cold War Kids have taken some unusual and largely questionable creative turns. First, they followed that all-around solid record with Loyalty To Loyalty, a left-field dive into murky, confrontational garage rock. Though I enjoyed that venture, it seemed like the Kids were losing their way. A stopgap EP, Behave Yourself, provided some of the band’s strongest material since their debut, giving hope that their next full-length might be their best yet. Mine Is Yours is indeed their next full-length, but it also marks another major step in a dubious direction. Helmed by Jacquire King and featuring a slick production that swings for the rock crossover fences, Mine Is Yours finds the Cold War Kids toning down their characteristic edges in favor of making songs tailor made for montages in hip TV shows and movies.

The opening title track gurgles to a slow start that never quite picks up, and even relative highlights like “Royal Blue” and “Skip The Charades” don’t pack the wallop of “Hospital Beds” or “We Used To Vacation.” Another one of the band’s previous strengths, Nathan Willett’s lyrics, falls limp under the drama-laden arrangements. A falsetto hook on “Sensitive Kid” and the rushing “Louder Than Ever” sound forced and Willett himself sounds bored with his own songs. Mine Is Yours sounds like the kind of record a budding band is talked into making by some business-savvy greaseball; someone bent on molding an honest, hard-working group of guys into international sensations. If Kings Of Leon’s recent breakout success is serving as the Cold War Kids’ new model, I just hope Willett and the guys steer clear of any pigeon-infested stages. Not even a record as lamentable as Mine Is Yours deserves that kind of reception.

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~ by E. on March 25, 2011.

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