Local Wire

Cold War Kids Turn Up the Experimentation With New Record

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The shift meant some shakeups. Guitarist Jonathan Russell departed and in stepped Dann Gallucci, formerly of Modest Mouse. Gallucci joined Lars Stalfors in producing Dear Miss Lonely Hearts, and his passion for synth-pop marks some clear departures for the band.

The pulsing "Lost That Easy" could almost serve as the band's (unexpected) entrance into the world of club music, while "Loner Phase" taps into gothy Depeche Mode drama, with pulsing synths, a John Hughes-ready bass beat, and stark guitars. "Bottled Affection" builds itself on a bed of warbling synth swoons before a stutter-step beat takes the thing into New Order territory. "I met match, so why am I proud?" Willett pleads, before noting: "You get older, it gets worse."

While Mine Is Yours received critical lashings for its arena-rock ambitions (some reviews even mentioned bands as lamestream as Train and Creed), the stylistic ambitions of Dear Miss Lonely Hearts sound less like bids for a mainstream breakthrough and more like earnest experimentation.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.