Release Date: Oct 10, 2006
Genres: Indie Rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
They claim to listen to their tiny inner voice making music. Whatever it is they keep inside, it sure is a great treasure!
Robbers & Cowards
UG Team, on november 02, 2006 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: I always get excited when a new band finds itself a name that's original and that sounds good. Too bad when it turns out the band's crappy -- it's like, there are already not too much good names for the bands left after 50 years of rock 'n' roll, and now there's some asshole wasting an amazing name for shitty music! I breathe out now -- with Cold War Kids there's no reason for disappointment...
Fullerton, California natives, Cold War Kids made their way to Los Angeles, where they signed to Monarchy Music and released a debut EP in 2005. Robbers & Cowards, out October 10 on Downtown Records, is their debut major label LP. The influences are as great as Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, and the Velvet Underground! All of those are pretty well mixed and you won't find five in a row Dylan's guitar chords or Holiday vocal solo sticking out. The music is creative and it doesn't follow any standards. I'm pretty much sure Cold War Kids could care less about what the critics will say about it. And that's one of the best things about it all! All songs are upbeat and cheerful, I do believe the band is full of energy when it comes to writing music. Besides, it is soul-based, which by itself is half way through to a timeless record.
Apart from tempo changes and sudden break-ups, the record is full of great little features -- like a wonderful drum solo at the end of Robbers or an off-pitch piano in Hang Me Up To Dry. Plus the sounds of hell knows what almost at the end or the beginning of every track. Bells and tambourine along with handclaps are a nice addition and remind us about America's music roots. Pregnant could pretty well make an alternative lullaby if not it's off-key chorus and abortion context. Hair Down is groovy (thanx to it's rolling toms) and is almost dancing.
Saint John way too obviously reminds Door Bell by The White Stripes. It's such a black spot on an album full of well-written songs, that it made me think there should be something wrong. Maybe they did it on some purpose and forgot to mention it? I know Door Bell is from the two-years-old album, but hey, we still remember The White Stripes! // 8
Lyrics: Nathan Willett starts Pregnant whistling and sings in a sugary sweet voice about Mouth full of sweets followed by Rotting your teeth. He performs in a high-pitched voice, switching it suddenly to yarning sleepy one, dragging out words. He can be desperate (in Hang Me Up To Dry), be aggressive (in Rubidoux), be cheerful (in Saint John), be serious (in We Used To Vacation).
Nathan Willett's voice is something in between a woman and a man singing... Not to say it's gay... I'd say it's just his passion coming out. You can compare Willett to Jack White, but Willett is still a few tones lower. Sometimes. // 8
Overall Impression: The first impression you get after listening is that everything is great and it's just a wonderful bunch of songs. Give the album a few listens and you'll find a few stand-outs -- like We Used To Vacation, Hang Me Up To Dry and Robbers. All tracks are very individual, each caring a story along the way. Even if there are not too many words describing it, there're plenty of impressive vivid details.
There are legends going on about the band's spectacular live performances and you can actually realize it listening to Robbers & Cowards -- the studio record manages to keep the improvisational part of the music in it. With all of the above being said, Robbers and Cowards it far too good for the debut! The answer may be in the fact that except two new songs, everything else is borrowed from the band's previous Up in Rags and With Our Wallets Full EPs. Which means they had time to polish the sound. Anyway, that doesn't decrease their excellence.
Cold War Kids are absolutely potential and have talent and ambitions worth for a few bands. They claim to listen to their tiny inner voice making music. Whatever it is they keep inside, it sure is a great treasure! // 9
Robbers & Cowards
callum91, on june 10, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Brilliant. This, for me is the best album so far this century. Cold War Kids have a fantastically messy, gritty sound. There is a large blues influence in the music but I truly believe this is 100% genuinely individual, new and exciting. This band get no where near enough radio play, TV showing or album sales which I think was a main motive to get this album out in the stores and try to gain the recognition which they truly deserve. You can hear an obvious passion within the music and can tell that everyone in the band is enjoying themself and since when was that not what music is about? From the moderately famous 'Hang Me Up To Dry' to the brilliant 'robbers' this album takes you on a journey and one that you will never forget. Truly superb. // 10
Lyrics: The lead singer has a very strong voice perfectly fitted with the music aswell as the lyrics he sings. When the music is emotive, the lyrics are, when the music is more up-beat, the lyrics are happier. Each line superbly fitted to the previous and next. If you listen carefully to the lyrics you are given a tremndous insight into the lyricist's thoughts and are executed with the music perfectly. // 9
Overall Impression: Again, as I said earlier I think that this is the best album of this century and undoubtedly in this genre. And everyone knows that there have been some really superb albums so far in the naughties. The stand out track for me is 'Robbers' partly because I have never heard a male vocal hit some of them notes before and also because the minimal music and occasional off notes on top of the lyrics could keep me entertained for hours on end. Every part of this album is fantasic even after listening to it hundreds of times believe me, I struggle to pick out one single fault and don't think I could if I tried. If I were to misplace this album or have it stolen I would be out to buy a new one within a day. It is absolutely superb. Top album. // 10