Cold War Kids - Hold My Home
Ten years into their career and it’s full-length album number five for Californian soul-rockers Cold War Kids who, it would seem, have cracked the enigma of the brutal music industry. After the dust settled on the original, lively debut Robbers and Cowards, it's a bit of a mystery how each subsequent stripped back, simplistic yet bland effort came to be polished, promoted, and purchased enough to support the production of yet another. Yet somehow they did it. They're still here and this offering returns to the morbidly infectious sound of that debut, with a synthetic-gospel heartlessness that stays true to their jangly anthemic style.
Opener ‘All This Could Be Yours’ invites the listener to latch on to the dipping riff through its pacey and fully formed delivery whilst omnipresent emanations of U2 manifest in ‘Hotel Anywhere’ and ‘Nights and Weekends’. Meanwhile, ‘Flower Drum Song’ culminates in reverberating ‘oooh-aahh-ohhs’, preparing itself for arena setlists, a quality spanning the whole album. Much of it is carried, in typical CWK style, on Nathan Willet’s warbling vocals, which feature notably as the most prominent instrument on the introspective track ‘Go Quietly’, where they fulfil the purpose of obscuring the limited lyrical repetitions. The title-track is an indie band crashing a gospel church. But a surprise awaits in ‘Drive Desperate’, where lofty, tense strums give way to a rapid bassline, heightening anxiety before a heavy interjection fuses mayhem, rendering it a rare highlight. Cold War Kids seem happy not to bow to the pressure of contemporarising what they do. Instead, save for publishing the audience members Instagram gig snaps on their own Facebook feed, it's a rather indifferent business as usual.