Cold War Kids’ fifth studio album is just as electrifying as its predecessors. They have again managed to produce a compilation packed full of bluesy, soul-infused magic that will impress current fans and new listeners alike.
Hailing from Long Beach, California, the quintet became well-known from their debut album, Robbers & Cowards, featuring indie rock hits like ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’ and ‘We Used to Vacation’. The band has mostly managed to stay true to its original blues and rock roots, even on the most recent album. This sound is distinguishable in tracks such as ‘Hear My Baby Call’ and ‘Harold Bloom’, which follows a 12/8 time signature, giving it a traditional bluegrass feel.
This is not to say that the album is a replica of Cold War Kids’ earlier music. Overall, Hold My Home has a more mature approach than their previous work. A couple tracks are complete deviations from the usual, like ‘Nights & Weekends’; this song is a strangely appealing 90’s bit, a conglomerate of traditional Cold War Kids with sounds similar to U2 and The Verve.
Most of the album’s singles are quality compositions. A particularly striking one is ‘First’, with rhyming lyrics and an infectious stomp-clap beat. Another single, ‘Hot Coals’, sounds a bit like older Black Keys’ tracks.
While the musicality of the album is head-bopping, foot-tapping brilliance, the lyrics on some tracks are lacking. Compared to the band’s earlier work, the words seem forced; what used to be raw and emotionally charged is now feeble and a bit dull. Again, this doesn’t apply to the entire album – ‘Hot Coals’ is quite angst-y and driven lyrically: “I don’t feel a thing walking on hot coals/No sensitivity in a thought of war”. However, on other tracks like ‘All This Could Be Yours’, it feels like there’s a gap between the powerful accompaniment and fairly apathetic lyrics.
Overall, though, Cold War Kids’ Hold My Hand is another successful addition to the group’s rapidly growing discography that is well worth the listen.