Album Reviews


Cold War Kids

Robbers & Cowards

RS: 4of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4of 5 Stars


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Like Creedence Clearwater Revival before them, blog-buzz kings Cold War Kids channel the gothic spirit of the Deep South -- at least as imagined by dudes from California. But this suburban Los Angeles foursome has some actual holy-roller bona fides. Three of the four (frontman Nathan Willett, bassist Matt Maust and guitarist Jonathan Bo Russell) met at an evangelical Christian college, and the spirit of an old-fashioned tent revival infuses the band's remarkable story songs. Over cave-stomp drums, barroom piano and chiming post-punk guitars, Willett -- whose high tenor sounds a little like Jack White's -- spins tales that wouldn't seem out of place in a Flannery O'Connor collection. There's a drunk who continually disappoints his family ("We Used to Vacation"); a death-row inmate imprisoned for killing his sister's would-be rapist ("Saint John"); a criminal on a midnight run with "bourbon and a pistol in the dash, out of sight" ("Rubidoux"). And much as Bruce Springsteen feels deep sympathy for the murderers and fuckups who populate Nebraska, Robbers & Cowards has a deeply Christian take on its titular anti-heroes: that even the worst among us is capable of redemption.


(Posted: Oct 30, 2006)




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