by Maddie Hayes
Cold War Kids, an indie rock four-piece band hailing from Long Beach, Cali., released “Mine Is Yours” Jan. 25, 2011. This album marks the band’s third full-length album release since its inception in 2004. A lot is expected of a third album since most bands have passed through the typical sophomore slump at this point in their musical careers. Fans have waited patiently in anticipation for this release for more than two years.
Thinking back to their first full-length album, “Robbers & Cowards,” Cold War Kids presented listeners with infectious tunes like “We Used To Vacation,” and the well-received “Hang Me Up To Dry.” To this day, “Hang Me Up To Dry” is the band’s most popular song on iTunes. In general, most would expect Cold War Kids to outdo themselves and create an album at least on par with, or above the level of their previous albums. Unfortunately, “Mine Is Yours” fails to impress.
As a stand alone indie rock album, it’s not terrible. On the first listen through, it’s enjoyable, but not groundbreaking. Cold War Kids almost seems to be channeling the popular band, Kings of Leon with the overall sound. The first song on the album, “Mine Is Yours,” seems promising, as the intro of the song builds anticipation to what’s supposedly coming on the album. After the epic intro though, the song is just okay. It’s a bit too repetitive, and it seems too long.
The most disappointing thing about “Mine Is Yours” is the lack of memorable songs. None of the 11 songs are phenomenal stand-outs along the lines of “Hang Me Up To Dry,” and none of them are songs listeners would want to put on repeat for 75 listens.
Even though none of the songs are unforgettably epic anthems, there are a couple standouts not to be overlooked. The album’s fourth track, “Finally Begin,” is pretty catchy. It’s sort of mid-tempo, but the overall feel to the song lends itself to small magnitude head-bobbing. It’s a bit more chill than some of the other songs on the album, but the way the vocals are timed with the instruments adds a lot of interest.
The third song, “Royal Blue,” is another great track. It’s one that will likely induce singing along to after a few listens, and it’s not really clear why. Maybe it’s the bass line that’s so prominent, or maybe it’s how well lead singer, Nathan Willett’s unique vocals are showcased.
“Mine Is Yours” is missing something key in Cold War Kids’ previous albums: sweet piano parts. The inclusion of a prominent piano added more depth to the songs, and that depth seems to be lacking on “Mine Is Yours.” The piano is not completely excluded, but it’s not nearly as noticeable or important.
Don’t write “Mine Is Yours” off completely. The album is definitely enjoyable if you’re into straight indie rock with interesting vocals. It doesn’t present a totally unique sound for the genre, but some of the songs are quite catchy and it still sounds like Cold War Kids.
Ultimately, “Mine Is Yours” is a just bit of a letdown, simply because I expected more out of this band. But who knows? It may turn out to be one of those albums that requires 20 complete listens before its brilliance is bestowed upon the listener.