Cold War Kids - LA Divine
Cold War Kids
There was a time in the 200s where it seemed like the Cold War Kids could do no wrong. Their early releases were filled with Indie Rock gems being played in a major way for one of the first times. Their songs were piano stompers tailormade for festival stages and college parties, but sometime since then they sort of lost their way. Save a shocker hit "First" back in 2014 The Cold War Kids have been relatively quiet despite amassing a huge catalogue of music. This new record their 11th however lands them right back where they have been for awhile, at a complete standstill. A few of the songs sound "like" the best work Cold War Kids have done, but it never gets close to being the real deal. It always feels like they are chasing someone or something rather than just being themselves. Since half the original band has left at this point it would make sense that they are having trouble finding a sound unique just to them. "No Reason To Run" finds the band doing their best Anthemic Indie Rock impression, but the fake live noises and call and response make it feel absolutely ridiculous. "LA River" is just a mess of fuzz and inaudible singing which is thankfully only a minute long. There are just so many better versions of songs about the LA River (Honey Honey, "LA River") that feels totally unnecessary and boring. There are two other interludes like this, and at best they seem like some failed attempt at being artistic. The record doesn't feel like a sell out, it just doesn't feel relevant.
You keep waiting for that moment where you can finally buy in, but it just never comes. Even songs like "Invincible" which sound ok have these elements here and there that throw you off. On "Invincible" it is Nathan Willett's falsetto, at other points it is something else but they just seem to continually get in their own way. At only 44 minutes you would expect the record to sail by but because everything sounds so much like everything else they have done it cannot help but be a slog to get through. Yet peppered throughout the album are little moments where you remember Cold War Kids' greatness. The Chorus "Ordinary Idols" is fantastic and infectious while still having some of the best vocals on the record. they cannot sustain this though and fall back into bad habits as soon as the next verse. It doesn't feel like they are shooting for the middle intentionally with this album, they just somehow always land there. The inclusion of some synthy elements on "Part of the Night" just fees calculated and quite lame. If 'First" had them shift to this more pop heavy anthemic style then it is time to go back to the drawing board. LA Divine unfortunately misses on nearly every mark.
4.8 out of 10