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Robbers & Cowards (Vinyl)

Cold War Kids LP Record
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 27.69 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

Product Description


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Man, the review Amazon provides must have been written by some bitter guy who wishes he was Julian Casablancas. The fact is, Cold War Kids are a good little indie band. If minimalist-honky-tonk-soul rock over a bed of smooth bass, well placed guitar melodies, marching band drums are good piano work sounds intriguing to you, then give this album a listen.

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"...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do not listen to the Amazon reviewer April 25 2008
Format:Audio CD
Heard the "We Used to Vacation" single on XM Radio and was intrigued enough to pick up the album, expecting to be blandly disappointed. I was surprised. It's really a very good album. I don't hear The Strokes at all. More something in the aural space occupied the Radiohead's "The Bends" album, random stuff by Beck and Ben Folds. Imminently catchy, but punchy. A great album for the underdog lover.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the catchiest record you'll ever hear Oct. 3 2007
By K. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A confession: this review may be a bit impulsive or premature. I had never heard of the Cold War Kids until days ago. I caught the sample of "Hang Me Up to Dry" and instantly recognized it from somewhere. I have no idea where I know the song from, but I absolutely LOVE it. After sampling the rest of the CD I decided it was worth taking a chance. Having had the CD a few days now, the songs are just so darn listenable and catchy they are addictive. I probably will have to pry the CD out of my player soon just to avoid OD'ing on it. The group has a real gift for catchy melodies as evident in the aforementioned tune as well as in "We Used to Vacation" and "St. John." Really the CD is full of immediately catchy hooks and melodies that suck you in and don't let go ("Passing the Hat", etc.). Even if I overdose on them short term, I don't think I could ever hear these tunes without being captivated. They are just that good - instant classics for me. If you like your rock stripped down and raw with an edge, tinged with soul and containing a heaping helping of blues (think White Stripes), "Robbers and Cowards" will hit the spot.

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."
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is going on? June 17 2007
By offerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I've never written a review on Amazon, but I feel compelled in this case. People are comparing Cold War Kids to Maroon 5? The Strokes? Do these people listen to music they're not told to? Sure, Maroon 5 adds a touch of soul to pop and The Strokes are a great band that relies on catchy '80's-style hooks, but CWK is something else entirely. They're rock first, with a Mississippi Delta influence.

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.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta hand it to the Kids Nov. 3 2006
By t-diggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hype is a funny thing...it makes people dislike bands before they even hear them. How anyone could not like something they never heard is a strange thought, but whats even stranger, is that even after people hear it, they still may not like it, even if they should....whatever circumstance you are coming from, you should like the Cold War Kids...

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...
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yez Yez Oct. 31 2006
By Henry Crinkle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Not sure when the last time I was this into an indie rock album, but it was probably when the Arcade Fire released Funeral. They don't sound like the Arcard Fire, but it's just honestly good music in it's essence. The rawness is accurate, but it's not all experimentally crammed with instruments. There are a few different ones, but not excessive like Mystery Jets or anything. I was put off by another review and was thinking people would be playing with cooking utensils or something, but I assure you that's not the case. A+ and sincere.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jedd Beaudoin doesn't deserve his job. Dec 24 2006
By Hum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Music attracts me in different ways. For instance I listen to Broken Social Scene when i'm feeling like I want to drift away to somewhere else. There are certain things that catch my ear that makes me like a band. One is the lyrics of course, which I haven't listened to this album enough to rate. But, another is catchyness, and these guys have it. Every song is so different from music that's out there right now. And it's so raw sounding.. And these know-it-all critics who have their own agenda and can't see what the music is for what it is really disturb me.. It's like there's one thing that turns you off about Cold War Kids, and you feel the need to dwell on it and rip them apart for it. The point is they have talent and the music is great to listen to. Isn't that the point? Buy this album, give it a chance, and you won't regret it.
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