Robbers & Cowards (Vinyl)
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You've heard at least three dozen bands like Cold War Kids already. Bands fascinated with the first Strokes album and bent on expanding the promise of that artistically ill-fated group; bands bent on delivering records that have a fresh take on life in suburbia but offering instead a minor variation of angsty clichés; bands that have quirky-but-catchy takes on songwriting; bands that try a little too hard. As unique as some of the ideas on Robbers and Cowards are, it doesn't take long before Nathan Willett's vocals begin to grate (even when he channels Jeff Buckley during "Passing the Hat") and the time between the initial excitement that swells with the opening cut "We Used to Vacation" and the moment you realize that Cold War Kids is just another mainstream band over-mining a once fertile underground sound is short enough that you can cut your losses and find something more worthwhile. --Jedd Beaudoin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Cold War Kids aren't afraid to go completely bare bones ("Saint John," which has one of the weirdest/best grooves I've ever heard) or neo-white-boy soul ("We Used to Vacation"), all in the name of cool tunes. Now, some may be turned off by the singer's affinity for high notes, but I love it. What's also interesting about this band is how little members sometimes play--the guitar may only play a simple melody on one song, piano may be absent from the other--but this band does whatever works best for their songs.
This is a really good album, it's very different all while sounding familiar. Stand out songs (other than the first two mentioned) include Hang Me Up to Dry and Hospital Beds. Lollapalooza called them "clappy, clangy and jangly." That works too. Just beware of "From Amazon.com"...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I am shocked (and a little annoyed) by the presumptuous nature of the Amazon review (by Jedd Beaudoin). Perhaps the reviewer actually knows the band personally and can speak to such things, but probably not (I can be presumptuous as well!). The one kernel of truth in his review is that the Cold War Kids do "have quirky-but-catchy [...] songwriting." He nailed it there, but he then presumes to climb into their heads to speak about their motivations and aspirations. He accuses them of being "fascinated with the first Stokes album" and of "trying too hard." He charges them with trying to deliver a "fresh take on life in suburbia" but, failing here, they only deliver "a minor variation of angsty clichés."
Maybe the reviewer is so into the music scene he knows what would motivate himself to produce a similar record. Maybe such an effort on his own behalf would truly be derivative of the Strokes, etc. Maybe his view is jaded by his own experience. Why isn't it possible that these guys are just being true to themselves and the(ir) music? Why can't this music be genuine and heart-felt? Maybe it is others who are preoccupied with image and marketing, not the Cold War Kids themselves. That's what I choose to believe, anyway. I spent some time on their website reading their "journal". I was impressed with what I felt was sincere, genuine, and very humorous.
As far as I'm concerned these guys created a fantastic album that is a representation of who and what they are rather than what they are "trying" to be. I'm blessed to have experienced it. I encourage you to experience it for yourself. Regarding the Amazon reviewer, I suggest he is projecting his own pretentiousness onto the "Kids."
The lyrics are unique in that they tell of the human condition, although not necessarily first hand. Wonderful music combined with touching lyrics equals a great band.
They are indeed one of the best live bands around, as I discovered them opening for Editors at The Fillmore, but the sound translates perfectly to home.
Maybe you don't dig the sound, but comparing them to some other random band doesn't make any sense. They have a style that might not be completely original, as Delta Spirit and a few other bands are of the same vein, but CWK does it the best, and with the most feeling.
They are fun, brash, honest and creative. They are sincere and seem like a bunch of guys who are really having a good time. That is what rock and roll is supposed to be about. They play scathingly good live shows, bouncing around on stage and singing with vocal cords stretched to the limit. And they write the damn catchiest songs. The songs are inventive without having to be orchestral or using a catologue of quirky instruments. Instead it is stripped down. Guitar, Bass, Drums, Piano, Voice and some goddamn Soul. These Kids are bringing the soul back into the music. The singer channels Ornette Coleman and Nina Simones bastard child, and the band shambles along with a bluesy take on the Velvet Underground via Rolling Stones style rock and roll. A little slacker, a little swagger and a lot of Soul. A+++ in my book. and like I said, a GREAT live band...
Initially to me, they sounded like Franz Ferdinand, but with a more interesting sound to their music. At the same time, there were elements of Maroon 5's soul rock, but Cold War Kids created their own alternative (indie) rock music, completely unique and completely different from all the groups out there now. Most impressive.
The lyrics in most of their songs sound like a twisted reflection of life, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. I found their music very refreshing as compared to all the groups out there now. Out of all the tracks, I enjoyed Robber, Red Wine, Success, We Use To Vacation and Hang Me Up To Dry.
This album really grew on me to the point that I'm asking myself to look-out for the dates they're dropping by for a concert!