Cold War Kids

Hold My Home

Written by: TL on 28/12/2014 18:51:33

Another band whose review has been MIA for a while this year is Californian indie rock group Cold War Kids, a band that has been nothing if not persistent, consistently releasing albums to mixed critical reception since 2006 and arriving now at their fifth, "Hold My Home", which came out in late October. Through the years the group has been good for a number of memorable singles, even if the worth of their albums in full has been debatable, and at first glance things seem unchanged on the new record, as the Long Beach boys stick once more to a relatively traditional sound, leading your thoughts straight to five guys playing with instruments and equipment in a smaller venue, as opposed to placing you in the more theatrical and artificial atmospheres other groups might try to conjure. An apt explanation for newcomers would be to think of them as a more confined Kings Of Leon, with more piano/organ and a more Brandon Flowers-like lead vocal.

As far as providing more singles to the band's arsenal, "Hold My Home" delivers in form of second track "First", which has every other beat in its mid-tempo pace accentuated with piano notes and handclapping, while singer/guitarist/pianist Nathan Willett sings his catchiest bits of the record in chorus lines that sound like they could've done just as well in a decent Gavin DeGraw song. Regretably however, the positive remarks stop already here, as the rest of "Hold My Home" is startlingly uneventful in comparison, with songs put together competently, yet lacking in direction and dynamics. Cold War Kids sound like themselves, yet the rhytms stagnate with little to no energy, while Willett often gets wrapped up in his falsetto-happy delivery, missing wide of any memorable hooks to compare with either "First" or previous hits like "Dear Miss Lonelyhearts", "Louder Than Ever" or even oldie "Hang Me Up To Dry".

Harsh as it may seem to reduce a whole album to one modest hit and then filler for the rest, "Hold My Home" is just one of those records. Only "Drive Desperate" at track four feels like it has a bit of energy to it, but it comes together in an unfocused manner that lacks proper impact, and down the stretch, a stale ballad like "Harold Bloom" leaves you wondering, both if you're missing some interesting lyrical points because the arrangements are so mediocore, and by extension if the release shouldn't have ended a few tracks ago and saved any lyrical nuggets up until some better musical ideas had been thought up. Overall, while you gotta love a band that labours to prove their detractors wrong, it goes to show that intention is only one thing, being inspired is another, and when you miss both a sense of direction and some striking ideas the way "Hold My Home" does, what you end up with is likely the most forgetable product of your career as a band.

Download: First
For The Fans Of: The Killers, Kings Of Leon, Delta Spirit, The Black Keys

Release date 21.10.2014
Downtown / V2

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