Minus The Serial Killer
Blasting onto the scene with 2006’s Robbers and Cowards, the Fullerton, CA quartet Cold War Kids instantly established themselves and their exploding-with-potential, bang-your-drumsticks-on-anything-you-can-reach, falling-headfirst-off-the-stage brand of the white-boy blues. Wasting no time, the Kids immediately cash in that potential on their sophomore release, Loyalty to Loyalty, a confident, expressive, 46-minute blend of sound and emotion.Loyalty is the musical equivalent of a superior Halloween thriller, leaping out at you early and often to keep your blood pumping through even the quietest moments. From the spontaneous muddled jams of opener “Against Privacy” to the eerie, echoed closure of “Cryptomnesia,” imaginative surprises lurk behind most corners. “Welcome to the Occupation” is fueled by deep, tribal drum thuds while an ironically dark, old-time piano sets the tone for “Golden Gate Jumpers.” “Every Man I Fall For” roars and cowers with the anger and submission of the tortured love affairs it describes, while “Relief” floats falsetto-sung verses over buzzing bass reverberation.
Creative songwriting and instrumentation aside, the passion behind the sound is what keeps the listener glued. In his trademark half-distressed, half-swaggering yelp, frontman Nathan Willett is as believably insane screaming “Something is not right with me / I’m trying not to let it show” as he is compellingly sincere while waxing philosophically, “Flashlights go out / Stars will light the way / Like Mexican dogs / Nobody gave us names.” “I’ve Seen Enough” exudes dramatic flair while “Every Valley is Not a Lake” flexes its machismo. Each plucked chord, crashed cymbal and slammed piano key is as powerful as it is purposeful.
Loyalty to Loyalty displays that these Kids are indeed more grown up, weathered, and mature, yet still capable of landing a similar, resounding wallop.