Cold war, warm hearts
It seems impossible for five years to pass without a group of blues-aping white kids sweeping into view. Cold War Kids – 2006, The White Stripes – 2001, urm, Gomez – 1996? To hell with that theory then. But here’s another one: with every style-over-substance movement in pop culture we, er, revel in a pack of chin-stroking musos physically incapable of being anything as vacuous as cool or sexy will reject the shallow trappings of the underground and embrace earnest musicality instead. They’re normally American, have faint traces of beard and are marvellously blessed when handed a guitar and confronted with a treble clef.
The ‘We Used To Vacation’ EP is the latest and best serious indie beast to rear its head. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah proved too irritating to love and The Spinto Band too dull. Cold War Kids have enough flair, taste and soul for any educated heart in Britain. While the title track’s lounge soul confessions may not be wooing new rave acolytes, it’s not just Pitchfork readers who’ll be melted by these strained vocals, restrained guitars, flittingly avant-garde piano and pot’n’pan percussion. “I promised to my wife and children/I’d never touch another drink as long as I live” croons Nathan Willett. A glass of orange juice to toast Track Of The Week then? Apt really, as this is a band to make you think, not drink.