Cold War Kids

Mine Is Yours

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AllMusic Review by

Some major retooling took place in Cold War Kids' world in the 12 months between the Behave Yourself EP and their third album, Mine Is Yours. Their last full-length, Loyalty to Loyalty, played like an unflattering caricature, all dragging tempos, grating vocals, and overdone attempts at “bluesiness.” Behave Yourself found the band on better behavior, with tighter songwriting and a sleeker approach, but just how much slicker Cold War Kids sound on Mine Is Yours is still kind of a shock. Where they used to sound like they wanted to play church basements and speakeasies, here they sound like they’re gearing up for stadiums à la Kings of Leon. Aside from Nathan Willett's occasional vocal flourishes, the band puts aside any vestiges of its former rawness, coating everything in clean, glossy reverb that makes these modern rock songs go down easy. They’re downright U2-ish on the title track, and “Skip the Charades” and “Flying Upside Down” aspire to anthem status. Problem is, they’re not memorable or distinctive enough to stick in hearts and minds the way an anthem should; “Out of the Wilderness,” which even builds up to church bells, just doesn’t have the impact its size suggests. Every now and then, Cold War Kids remember their roots on Mine Is Yours, as on the sexy “Cold Toes on the Cold Floor” and “Royal Blue,” both of which conjure the slinky nighttime grooves that used to be their bread and butter. A couple of moments manage to blend the band’s old and new sounds: “Louder Than Ever” feels less contrived than their earlier work but still has that edge, while “Bulldozer”'s spooky falsettos and guitar drones find the right balance of accessibility and creativity. Whether they're overcompensating for previous failures or reaching out for a new audience, this album is polished and mature -- words that never would have described Cold War Kids' music before.

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