Release Date: 01/25/11
I was one of those rare people who loved Kings of Leon's Only By The Night and loved it even more when I found out that everyone in the indie world was dismayed at how much attention it was getting. Sure it was more a little more poppy and sure the vocals were a little more pushed to the front. But to me it was very much still a Kings of Leon album and I would have rather them on top of the world then plenty of other artists. Cold War Kids was a band that was very much in the same spot that Kings of Leon were in prior to Only By The Night. After releasing their less than gratifying album, Loyalty to Loyalty, Cold War Kids was looking for a way to capitalize on other indie bands' success in the mainstream and move in the direction of alternative rock.
Their solution came in the form of hiring producer Jacquire King, the mastermind behind Only By The Night and Modest Mouse's Good News For People Love Bad News. According to Nathan Willett, the band was confident that King's production would "work miracles with us". Unfortunately for the Cold War Kids, it turns out that miracles like Good News For People Love Bad News and Only By The Night are indeed miracles and when you treat music formulaically, you're going to get just that. In what could have been a repackaged and more accessible version of Robbers & Cowards, Mine is Yours feels unnecessarily dumbed down and faceless. And for some strange reason, Willett has developed a strange timbre in his vocals in attempts stand out of the crowd, but it is simply not a pretty thing.
Now, of course, there are a couple of nice spots in here, namely "Finally Begin" and "Sensitive Kid". "Finally Begin", as cliche-filled as it is, might be the only alternative rock song on the album that fulfills their "new direction" with a catchy chorus and delayed guitars. Meanwhile, "Sensitive Kid" might be the only track on the album that actually manages to capture what made Cold War Kids' prior albums great and work that into the new context. With jumbling piano chords and a falsetto chorus, "Sensitive Kid" is a faint reminder of what Mine is Yours could have been. But when you put it next to extraordinarily annoying singles, "Louder than Ever" and "Mine is Yours", you'll find yourself feeling like you are the one being hung up to dry.
Cold War Kids - Finally Begin