Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Cold War Kids, Robbers & Cowards

Cold War Kids is Nathan Willett (lead vocal, guitar, piano), Jonathan Bo Russel (guitar, piano, vocals), Matt Aviero (drums, percussion) and Matt Maust (bass).  With their band cold war kidsname and lines like “Backset of your family station wagon, listening Nina Simone / 100 years of solitude and only 12 years old” from “God, Make Up Your Mind” about a family vacation trip you’d think they would be another tedious group of self-obsessed “Mommy doesn’t love me enough” whiners pointing out the cold war of their family life to their cold war aged parents.  Not so.  Cold War Kids often buck the trend of self absorption with songs about a struggling alchoholic (striking album opener “We Used to Vacation”), a man on death row for inadvertantly killing one of a group of drunken boys who attacked his sister as she walked home from work (“Saint John”) or a thief stalking the city looking for his next target (“Robbers”).  Cold War Kids are as riven with other people’s pain as they are with their own.  These guys are way beyond typical.

Cold War Kid’s music matches their subject matter.  Rhythms are lurching, bludgeoning, relentless.  Guitars are harsh.  Melodies are broken, sounds intrude and disappear.  Willett’s lead vocals are anguished and wailing.  It sounds like it would be a terrible racket but the songs are oddly compelling and repeated listens makes the coherence of the lyrics and the musical style more apparent.  Still and all, “Robbers & Cowards” is easier to admire than to enjoy.


07/23/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

1 Comment »

  1. […] rythms and raw guitars lay over the eccentric vocals of Nathan Willet. There, I’ve said it. Robbers & Cowards is a great album and so is the video for the single “Hospital Beds”, so check it out […]

    Pingback by josdigital.com » Cold War Kids “Hospital Beds” | 07/29/2007 | Reply

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