Cold War Kids

Loyalty to Loyalty

Bloggers couldn’t get enough of Cold War Kids with the release of 2006’s Robbers & Cowards. Pitchfork, of course, pretty much panned the band from day one. To me, Cold War Kids fall somewhere in that vast middle ground—not really the next big thing, but not as horrible as some sourpuss Mother Forker might have you believe. Loyalty to Loyalty is actually a bit disappointing, lacking the rock ’n’ roll soul of its predecessor. This time around the Fullerton, Calif., quartet is more rigid, replacing swinging dynamics with jittery, odd timings and guitars that get drowned out by too much reverb. Nathan Willett’s love-’em-or-hate-’em vocals still cut through, especially on the first single, “Something Is Not Right With Me” and “Every Valley Is Not a Lake.” But Loyalty to Loyalty essentially sounds like a band trying to make its “mature album” too early in its career. Forget about the lyrics that some have called preachy or pretentious. If Cold War Kids translated what they do best—playing live—they could have a great record in them.