Cold War Kids have been kicking around the indie scene since the release of their debut full length album, “Robbers and Cowards” in 2006. “Lonelyhearts” is the band’s fourth full length album, and while it does have its’ share of bright moments, the band has yet to deliver the same kind of excitement they promised on their debut and at other points in their career.
“Lonelyhearts” begins with scorching single ‘Miracle Mile’ which is one of the more animated and catchy things the band has ever done. Unfortunately, ‘Mile’ is the height of the album, which shows off some muscle at the start, only to fade on the back half leaving you wanting for the energy the album began with.
Cold War Kids explore some electronic elements on “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts”, and it’s in these moments where the album is intriguing. ‘Lost That Easy’, the album’s second track, first explores electronics in a subdued way, and does it with some success. While third track ‘Loner Phase’ essentially starts with an electronic beat fit for the dance floor, and is easily my second favorite track on the album. In reality, it’s probably just an average song, but I think it gets Cold War Kids out of their comfort zone, and they manage to sound comfortable doing something different, which is what I am yearning for from this band.
From the fourth track, ‘Fear And Trembling’, and on, for the most part it’s back to the bluesy down tempo style that we are all familiar with from Cold War Kids. Again, it’s not to say that it’s particularly bad, just redundant, and it takes away from the excitement generated in the first few songs of the album. Seventh track ‘Jailbird’ is a nice break on the second half of the album, and ‘Tuxedos’ is in fact a very solid song.
This may not make a lot of sense to those reading this, the individual parts of “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts” are quite good. But listening to the album all the way through, I am yet again left feeling that instead of Cold War Kids having made a great album, I feel like they are still on the precipice of making that great album, but haven’t quite gotten there yet. I’m not sure what is missing. I only know that for me, something is.
Perhaps Cold War Kids are victims of their own flashes of brilliance. Songs like ‘Coffee Spoon’, ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’, and ‘Mexican Dogs’ more than hint at the greatness the Cold War Kids have inside them. We just don’t see it enough…which always leaves them just shy of my lofty expectations for them.