Cold War Kids – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
American indie rock band, Cold War Kids, have returned with their fourth album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. The prolific group emerged in 2006 with their refreshing debut, Robbers & Cowards, which saw them nestling in the top 40 of the UK album charts.
Their unique style was often experimental, mixing unconventional percussion, rocky guitar riffs, grand piano and the soulful wailings of frontman Nathan Willett. In terms of output, CWK are relatively prolific.While the first record contained popular hits like We Used to Vacation, Hang Me Up to Dry and Hospital Beds, the releases that followed received mixed responses due to claims of them “selling out” – and yet the potential is still great.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts bounces off the ropes prepared for Round 4, announcing itself with lead single, Miracle Mile. It begins with a staccato piano line that punches its way throughout the track, accompanied by a driving drum beat that is complimented by Willett’s passionate delivery. As he belts the opening line “I was supposed to do great things,” you can’t help but get carried away by its rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities.
CWK are refusing to revisit their older sound, instead adding components one would never have attributed to the group. Lost That Easy and Loner Phase encompass the kind of arpeggio synths associated with the 80s synthpop period, emulating the likes of New Order and David Bowie. The hooks are there and the melodies are extremely catchy too.
The LP begins to flatline slightly after what is a promising beginning; Fear and Trembling crawls slowly towards a messy conclusion that includes a saxophone, swirling guitar effects and seemingly off-beat drums which aren’t as off-the-cuff as they pretend to be. Bottled Affection, Jailbirds and Water and Power are enjoyable but lack any real edge and fail to go the extra mile to impress. Any hope that the album will end with the bang it opened with is thwarted with Bitter Poem, which aims instead for slow and epic.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts is a well-produced LP littered with clean-cut box tickers and mainly exhibits great song craft. The only wish is that the band could have dirtied it up a little more. Still, Cold War Kids can clearly conjure great moments and the first half of this record is proof of that.
The Dear Miss Lonelyhearts was released on 2nd April 2013.
Watch the video for Miracle Mile here: