Sometimes an album can grab me right off the bat – first couple songs and I know I’ll be hooked. Other times it depends on my mood. I can listen to an album and not think too much of it, then when I’m in a different scenario or frame of mind that same album will blow me away. I love when that happens! Its like when you meet someone at a bar and they’re alright, but when you take them out of that setting you realize you found a catch. Like an awesome surprise you didn’t know you were waiting for! This happened to me with Cold War Kids newest release Mine Is Yours.

Cold War Kids first hooked me with their 2006 track “Hospital Beds” from the Robbers & Cowards album. How can you not be intrigued once that piano starts? Then come the drums and the powerful vocals of Nathan Willett – I couldn’t press “stop” if I wanted to. I had to find more of them once I heard this song. I became obsessed with “We Used To Vacation” and “Hang Me Up to Dry” – they were on virtually every playlist I created.

Hospital Beds – Cold War Kids
[audio:|titles=Cold War Kids – Hospital Beds]

The band became music blog darlings, which made the expectations pretty high for their sophomore release. It was two years before Cold War Kids released Loyalty to Loyalty and the Internet community who once embraced them, weren’t feeling the love this time around. I have to admit I didn’t give the album much more than a second glance and had a hard time even choosing a song to post, but I hadn’t given up on them quite yet, I knew they had it in them and I was willing to wait.

Relief – Cold War Kids
[audio:|titles=Cold War Kids – Relief]

I recently read an article by Matt Fink about music blogs and whether they help or hinder a band. He said, with the power of social networking and “hype” that exists on the Internet, a band can be thrown into a national tour without having the experience and wisdom to grow – they fizzle before the flame has even ignited. That can be a lot of pressure for a band that probably started making music to pass the time in their small town. But, maybe this is where music is headed – who ever thought the cassette tape would be pushed into extinction right? Maybe we need to be more critical as an audience and not jump on the bandwagon so quickly, and maybe bands need to try harder to impress us. In this same article there was a great quote from Cold War Kids lead singer Nathan Willett. When asked what went wrong on their second album and how he felt about the backlash from the same fans that were praising them only 2 years ago, he said:

“I think part of what was interesting is that for some of the criticism that Loyalty to Loyalty got, there were things about it that I, myself, had to say ‘Well, maybe it was a less focused work, and maybe that was my fault for not working hard enough on some things.’ I think there’s a lot of truth to that, which definitely affected me. It made me want to flesh this out more and have more of a purpose.”

I can’t imagine what that kind of criticism would do to you, both as an artist and as a person, but I love that he was able to find the positive in that album and grow from it.

So, when I heard that their EP Behave Yourself was being released early last year I had my fingers crossed, but wasn’t sure what to expect. I pressed “play” and the smile on my face grew with every beat. They were back! “Audience” opens with a catchy sound and only gets better from there. This was just their EP and once again I was on a Cold War Kids binge…waiting for their next release – it even made my TOP EPs of 2010.

Audience – Cold War Kids
[audio:|titles=Cold War Kids – Audience]

But back to what this post is really about. I finally got my hands on Mine Is Yours and for its first spin I had it playing while I had some friends over. Nothing was stopping me mid-conversation and I have to admit I was a little worried. Were the songs on the EP all they had left in them? I left it alone for a while but kept it on my iPod. Enter my Saturday Ladies Night this past weekend.

I spent the night with a bunch of amazing girls in Toronto. We piled in my car ready for a night of drinks, laughs and best of all friendship. I won’t bore you with our good times, but after we slept off the excitement for a bit at Alice’s house, we piled back in the car at 6am for an open-road ride home. We were all pretty tired and it was quiet so I decided it was a good time to re-visit Mine Is Yours. Something about that ride home was begging for this album. There was a light snow, the roads were empty, it was still dark and Lena was falling asleep in the back seat. Nat put the album on shuffle and after the first minute, we both looked at each and said, “Wow, this is good”.

We had started with the title track “Mine Is Yours” and maybe it was the fact that we had no distractions and could really listen to the lyrics and appreciate the build-ups, but it didn’t matter, we wanted more. The songs were catchy but not kitchy and had a range of sounds – all of which we were loving.

Mine Is Yours – Cold War Kids
[audio:|titles=Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours]

As some of you know by now, I’m a big fan of daydreaming. Bus rides are my favourite, but uninterrupted road trips are up there too. This album has that “goosebump” factor on a lot of tracks, which makes for great daydreaming music. As they played “Louder Than Ever” it didn’t grab me, but then the chorus kicks in and all is forgiven. “Royal Blue” starts with a bongo drum and a bit of a funk vibe and then turns into this jam that makes me want to sit around a bonfire. “Out Of The Wilderness” opens with this awesome drumstick tapping sound and then goes into Willett’s falsetto followed by the deep bass drum. Wow. “Sensitive Kid” started and it brought me back to “Hang Me Up to Dry”. I think it was the opening bass riff that did it. I won’t go into every track, but if you like these songs, I’m sure you will love the rest of it. Every time I listen to this album I find a new or greater appreciation for each song.

Skip The Charades – Cold War Kids
[audio:|titles=Cold War Kids – Skip The Charades]

Needless to say, Nat and I couldn’t believe that the other two had passed out in the back seat and were missing this album. Grab it here and check it out for yourself. Make sure to let me know what you think. Ha,ha – if you don’t know by now, I love reading comments – so bring ’em on!

* If you are a member or manager of the above band and you would like your track removed, please contact us and we will swiftly oblige. Fans – new or old – please support these bands by using your coffee money to buy their records.