After the War
Downtown Fullerton heroes and Long Beach residents, Cold War Kids, is THE band that “made it” outside of the L.A./Silverlake circuit in Southern California. Their past releases have spawned many copycats and inspired other great artists in the past five years, but their sound is a unique blend of bluesy pop and catchy, thoughtful So Cal indie. Dear Miss Lonelyhearts is a faithful reprisal of their signature sound with some surprises along the way.
“Miracle Mile” is the perfect opener with pounding piano chords, a four-on-the-floor drum beat and Nathan Willett’s signature warbly soul-tinted vocals. This is the kind of song that gets everyone pumped, at least by indie concert standards.
“Loner Phase” is a post-punk war song. If you’re having a bad day and fear the moment that requires eye contact with ANYONE, “Loner Phase” is perfect to blast on the walk to the liquor store. The Joy Division-esque, machine-like drumming is perfect with the tight, new wave bassline.
“Tuxedos” is an obvious nod to Joe Cocker and his hippie blues tribute to The Beatles. Like “With a Little Help From My Friends,” this song sports a gospel choir “ooh”-ing in the background, helping Willett’s pain ease along the softly-strummed clean guitar.
The eponymous track, “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,” is that awkward slow dance song at senior prom. The one where your date, Gary Theatergeek, got too drunk and Ace Quarterback finally noticed your cute glasses and librarian steez. He’s just as graceful on the dance floor as he is on the field, and “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,” brings out the romantic side in him. Let’s just hope you’re Molly Ringwald enough to seal the deal.
Cold War Kids has come a long way from Downtown Fullerton, the place that has spawned acts like Local Natives, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band. But the wide appeal of Dear Miss Lonelyhearts is enough to attract even more listeners in 2013. Maybe then Willett can stop feeling so much like a loner.