Release Date: Sep 23, 2008
Record label: Downtown
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
We’re still loyalMusic blogs are like bad boyfriends. They take a heretofore unknown band, make them feel special with much frothing keyboard clickity-clack, turn them into rock stars, then suddenly lose their number when the next well-coiffed strumpet in skinny jeans strolls by. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tapes ’n Tapes are probably still, right now, sitting in their living rooms decked out in mascara-smeared prom dresses waiting for Pitchfork to pick them up, wondering why their respective follow-up albums were greeted with such a resounding chorus of crickets.
On Robbers & Cowards, Cold War Kids seemed to hit the right mix of rattling rock and atmospheric ballads, and their energy and hooky songwriting overpowered their debt to influences like the Walkmen, the White Stripes, and Spoon. The band doesn't replicate that feat on Loyalty to Loyalty: too many of the rockers start out brash and end up dull, like "Something Is Not Right with Me," which has a great strut that unfortunately doesn't develop into much else. On "Every Valley Is Not a Lake," Nathan Willett's vocals are unfettered to the point of grating, and only emphasize that the band's melodies aren't as strong on this album as they were on Robbers & Cowards.
Cold War Kids missed the memo insisting every 2008 indie band have girls and gimmicks. Instead, they were making meat'n'potatoes rock'n'roll that you'll still want to listen to in 10 years' time. Loyalty to Loyalty, an improvement on 2006's filler-heavy debut, is a sincere, if preachy, advertisement for integrity over image. .
After securing a prime spot on 2006's conveyor belt of hype, Cold War Kids' debut, Robbers and Cowards, failed to live up to the expectations thrust upon it. Overpowering impatience being the key characteristic of today's indie scene, Loyalty to Loyalty may well prove to be Cold War Kids' last opportunity to extend their rapidly dissipating time in the spotlight. It is one they have declined to take.