Quick Listen: Cold War Kids “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts”

Patrick Maloney

 

For the first twenty seconds of the new Cold War Kids CD, “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts”, which comes out Tuesday, April 2nd, you’ll swear that you’re listening to fun. The band, not the emotion. Soon enough, the distorted guitars kick in and you’ll realize that Cold War Kids are offering something a little less poppy, but that rocks harder.

By the second track, “Lost That Easy”, you’ll wonder if you’re listening to the same record. The song starts with a pulsing, distorted bass and tremolo guitar that are, frankly, kind of creepy. The through-line across these jarringly different songs is in their epic rock choruses that are bound to get stuck in your head after a few repetitions.

The first two tracks are both very strong. The next four are not. From the dance-y “Loner Phase” to the Van Morrison-y “Tuxedos”, this part of the album left me completely underwhelmed. After muscling through each of these songs, I had to reward myself by listening to one of the first two songs again, each of which gets better upon a multiple listens.

The rut ends with Jailbirds, the stand-out track on the album. The song is the most reminiscent of the group’s previous efforts, and it’s refreshing to see that they can still deliver the same indie-rock anthems that made them famous in the first place.

At this point, you enter the ballad portion of the album. The next three songs are all well-written, if not exciting. I was hoping for an upbeat close to the album, but the instead it ends weakly and abruptly with the slow-jam “Bitter Poem”.

The LP is only ten songs, the bare minimum for most commercial efforts. Actually, the album doesn’t really feel like it can be called an “effort”. It seems more like three singles and seven B-sides.

Verdict: Download “Miracle Mile”, “Lost That Easy”, and “Jailbirds”. Skip the rest.