Despite Loyalty to Loyalty being only the second LP from Cold War Kids‚ there's something about listening to this band that feels much akin to throwing on that hole-filled sweater you've been rocking for the last 15 years. Things tend to mellow out a bit more on Loyalty‚ yet in many ways it picks up right where 2006's Robbers and Cowards left off. The blurring of lines is in large part due to the stand-alone nature of all their songs‚ but the notable growth of the band is present in the fact that their latest album feels much more like one collective piece of art.
The band creeps in on opener "Against Privacy" with the familiar patience of pop dynamics that is seemingly becoming the signature attribute of their music. The echo on Jonnie Russell's guitar is crucial on many of these cuts‚ and turns the intentional sparseness into tough‚ thick space. "Mexican Dogs" embodies this formula and feels like it could be equally embraced by both head-slamming hipsters and pre-raid S.W.A.T. agents alike. The first (and only?) single‚ "Something is Not Right With Me‚" is definitely catchy enough to be single worthy‚ and Spoon is probably upset they didn't write it first. Dig the classic verse: "I tried to call you collect/You said you would not accept/Your friends are laughing because nobody uses pay phones." Still‚ it definitely falls second to "I've Seen Enough" for the most bad-ass song on the album.
Matt Aveiro's drumming is just as critical to Cold War Kids' sound as Nathan Willett's high-range vocals‚ and when his tub-thumping kicks in on "I've Seen Enough‚" you know that a couple hundred headphones-clad‚ white kids in Brooklyn started to strut for the first time in their lives. I know I did. "Relief" is a boomer too‚ and highlights the band's other key strength of making a two-chord song sound like a rather detailed affair. As much as there is a warm familiarity about Loyalty to Loyalty‚ the borders of new territory reach far. From the U2-like chorus -- (good U2) -- of "Dreams Old Men Dream" to the wall of sound outro on "Cryptomnesia‚" the Kids show no signs of growing old anytime soon.