Cold War Kids

L.A. Divine

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Over the years, a growing sense of maturity emerged in Cold War Kids' music, with albums like Hold My Home proving that they're most successful when they're most straightforward. L.A. Divine builds on that album's solidly anthemic sound: "Love Is Mystical" and "Restless" are fine examples of the band at its stomping best. However, Cold War Kids also give L.A. Divine a little more pop sheen, and the combination of Nathan Willett's falsetto and the huge harmonies surrounding him is strangely reminiscent of Fun. on highlights like the power ballad "Part of the Night" and "No Reason to Run," a celebration of monogamy that sounds equally surprised and delighted. Indeed, much of L.A. Divine explores commitment, whether it's to a person or a city (as the title suggests, Cold War Kids' hometown was the album's muse). The band makes settling down -- but not settling -- sound less than boring on songs such as "So Tied Up," "Open Up the Heavens," and "Invincible," which tussle between vulnerability and bravado as they return to Cold War Kids' blazing rock. On the whole, L.A. Divine is a little less consistent than Hold My Home; the band's relentless intensity can get a bit exhausting, while the interludes sprinkled throughout the album feel more distracting than transporting. Nevertheless, L.A. Divine shows that Cold War Kids continue to expand their range -- and if they're becoming more accessible with each album, it's on their own terms.

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