The Daily Californian Online

Cold War Kids: MINE IS YOURS

By Cynthia Kang
Daily Cal Staff Writer
Monday, January 24, 2011
Category: Arts & Entertainment > Music > CD Reviews


Sometimes the least accessible albums are the best ones. In essence, that is what makes Cold War Kids so appealing. There is something inherently rewarding about patiently discovering their music's hidden brilliance. You can't help but be pulled in to the depiction of alcoholism in 2006's "We Used to Vacation" or the vivid imagery of "Hang Me Up to Dry." But their latest work is a disappointment. Mine Is Yours unveils a new CWK, one that has traded their gritty, quirky minimalism for a sound that brims with dazzling hooks yet feels uncomfortably vapid.

Produced by Grammy winner Jacquire King, who has worked with Kings of Leon and Modest Mouse, the album makes it clear that the band wishes to take a new direction. It appears, however, that they've made a few sacrifices along the way. Gone is the lyrical intensity that endeared CWK to fans. Lamenting about the perils of love, you'd think that CWK would be able to work wonders with such a broad concept. Despite Nathan Willett's rough and soaring vocals, "Mine Is Yours" is nothing more than looped chants of a cliche and likewise, the single "Louder Than Ever" is focused on simplistic rhymes and hackneyed phrases.

In fact, the entire focus of CWK has shifted. The charm of CWK used to lie in their turbulent, attention-grabbing gems that begged you to bask in their aural beauty. But now, CWK's pursuit of commercial success has resulted in an album where polished, pleasant tracks dominate. Granted, Mine Is Yours makes for a fun-filled listen, but after the second or third run-through, the tracks becomes indistinguishable and blend into a homogeneous daze. Underneath the layers of embellishments, there is really nothing there to create a lasting impression.

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