Release Date: Oct 21, 2014
Record label: Downtown
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
Between their strong comeback with Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, the promising side project French Style Furs, and Hold My Home, Cold War Kids had a creative rebirth in the mid-2010s. Recorded at their own studio, the band's fifth album is charged with an intimacy and intensity that began returning to their music with Lonelyhearts. Hold My Home is even more assertive than that album, with an opening trio of songs that rank among Cold War Kids' finest.
There is a prevalent thought running through conversation on Cold War Kids, that their earlier work—particularly their most widely reaching album, debut Robbers and Cowards—is their strongest output. Their ever-so-slowly declining popularity seems to mirror this sentiment, as has their slowly disappearing founding lineup. But, on fifth album Hold My Home, as hinted on their last effort Dear Miss Lonleyhearts, the Fullerton, California-founded band shows that maybe this conversation has steered in a misguided direction.
Hold My Home moves in several directions at once, each with varying degrees of success. The celebratory New Wave drive of "Hotel Anywhere" and the title track suit Cold War Kids well, like the optimistic side of the more solemn synthpop Lonelyhearts coin. The anthemic sing-alongs (see "Drive Desperate") seem a bit on the nose for a band that can write a song like the soaring "First," an obvious album highlight that showcases the best of Nathan Willett's fierce vocal delivery and keen ear for emotive melody.
Rock musicians can hide a lot behind a veil of confidence and brash attitudes. A high velocity guitar solo, for instance, can fill a gaping hole in a bland, changeless song; a cocky, overly theatrical singing style can pull focus from empty arrangements; layers of reverb and chorus effects can make even the simplest guitar riffs seem sonically stimulating. Listening to Hold My Home, Cold War Kids’ fifth full-length album, it appears the Long Beach rock band know all the tricks and more, and yet it’s still not enough to distract from a sad, sexless effort from a group who has been around long enough to know better.
Everything you need to know about the Cold War Kids’ new record, Hold My Home, can be gleaned from the music video for lead single “All This Could Be Yours”. Well, we’re calling it a music video, though it looks and feels more like a Calvin Klein commercial. In it, model Polina Barbasova roams the streets of London at night, running her fingers through her hair as if all the world were her runway.