How the Cold War Began begins with a new sound for North Carolina's Sorry About Dresden. On the opening track, "Temporary Felts," the four-piece band favors a subdued and relaxed form, a startling change from their usual pseudo-punk rock style. Their new sound continues at the beginning of "The Cults of the Famous and the Dead," which soon unfolds into an energetic and frenzied rocker, let by Matty Oberst's offbeat crooning. The poppy punk continues on "Krushchev Came on the Right Day," followed by another downbeat ballad, the reserved "The Store You Deserve." The alternating styles create a diabolic and ever-changing mood. The title track is a scorching and lively track that is followed by the acoustic and lo-fi sounds of "Failure of Woollett." How the Cold War Began was recorded at Duck Kee Studios and R15 Studios. North Carolina's Moment Before Impact Records released the disc in early 2001.