Indie rock band, Cold War Kids, recently released their sixth album, LA Divine, on April 7th. The album began with 4 singles which include “Love Is Mystical”, “Can We Hang On?”, “So Tied Up” ft. Bishop Briggs, and “Restless” in that order.
This album primarily focuses on love and religion. The album is comprised of 11 tracks, 2 instrumentals, and 1 poem to a beat. It opens with the upbeat single, “Love Is Mystical”, Ian Martin’s favorite track. The song’s bridge is a highlight of the song for me. It signals a tone shift before it goes back to the upbeat chorus.
Next is the next few singles leading to the “LA River” instrumental which creates an image of worshiping at this river. It is a great transition to the middle section of the album which includes “No Reason to Run”, “Open Up the Heavens”, and “Invincible.” This is the weakest part of the album. Neither of these songs is very memorable aside from the opening of “No Reason To Run.” All three of these songs do not compare to the first four songs, which were the singles.
They are still worth a listen but they pale in comparison to other songs on the album. “Open Up the Heavens” sounds more like a mixture between Panic! At the Disco and Bastille than it does a Cold War Kids song. The tone of the song also feels too slow for this part of the album so it doesn’t flow well.
“Invincible” proves to be the most forgettable moment of the album. It opens with a techno beat and then goes into what sounds like a slower rehash of “Restless” in terms of sound. It does flow from “Open Up the Heavens” and the lyrics are an improvement to the previous track, it still isn’t something I’d listen to multiple times.
The beat poem, “Wilshire Protest”, simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t make logical sense to be there after the extremely religious-themed middle section. The forgetfulness moves into the songs “Luck Down” and “Ordinary Idols.”
“Ordinary Idols” is clearly the better of the two. While “Luck Down” is an obnoxiously auto-tuned mess, at least “Ordinary Idols” offers more for the listener to think about and enjoy.
The final part of the album is an easy favorite. It begins with the short instrumental with some vocal work titled “Cameras Always On” and it flows from there. The instrumental is a perfect lead in to “Part of the Night” and “Free to Breathe.”
“Part of the Night” is my favorite of the album and it is about separation and love. This song is about that person who has seen your darkest moments yet still stays by your side. Without them there for you, you would be vulnerable. That person soon leaves as the song progresses.
“Free to Breathe”, in sound but not lyrical content, fits perfectly with the previous track. This song seems to be about religion as it talks about people arguing the meaning of life and asking “What kind of father leaves his kids in the rain?” I don’t agree with the song but I understand where he’s coming from. This song sees the artist in a place of disbelief and it is very relatable.
Overall I give the album a 7.5. It is a good album but not everything feels cohesive. Many of the tracks are easily forgotten about and I will likely never revisit them. Luckily the handful of truly well done tracks stop this album from being a massive failure.