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Cold War Kids move toward the big time

The band has relocated to Los Angeles and, with 'Mine Is Yours,' is being heard 'Louder Than Ever.'

February 03, 2011|By August Brown, Los Angeles Times

The album is generally optimistic about love, but like in any relationship, old attachments come back and cause trouble. Much of the early criticism lobbed at "Mine Is Yours" comes from the specter of Kings of Leon, whom producer King shepherded from big-in-England underachievers to arena-filling megastars.

Although there will likely never be anything approaching the Tarzan alpha swagger of "Sex on Fire" in Cold War Kids' catalog, it's not entirely coincidental that King's ear for taking flinty, pop-adjacent blues-rock and spit-shining it for big stages had its appeal for the quartet.

"Sure they want that [commercial success], but with them the art is always first," said King. "I hear a lot of talk of them cleaning up and going mainstream around this record. The goal wasn't to find a top-40 audience, but to have worked on classic songcraft and productions. It's not bad if you want to say something that connects with a lot of people."

Whether "Mine Is Yours" kicks Cold War Kids from the Wiltern into the Greek Theatre will be determined this year. They've severed many of their outré bona fides in pursuit of something bigger, and arguably harder.

For now, though, Cold War Kids have had enough of running from the perpetual warmth and commercial possibility of Los Angeles and all it stands for. Maybe embracing it is the most dangerous thing they could have done.

"People think you need to be uncomfortable to make art. You don't," Willett said. "You first have to be comfortable to really let yourself be vulnerable."

august.brown@latimes.com

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