Robbers & Cowards

21 Feb

Robbers & Cowards

I don’t know anything about the blues. I mean, of course I have basic ideas about elements of the blues (sadness, pianos, some sort of special song structure), but I don’t feel familiar with it at all. I certainly haven’t listened to many blues artists. Really, I should have no business talking about the blues.

Now that that’s been said, let’s review a blues album!

Robbers & Cowards, Cold War Kids’ debut, was released in 2006 after a series of EPs that generated plenty of buzz around the internet, of course. To be fair, it isn’t straight blues. It’s heavily influenced by the blues, I guess. It does a great job telling stories that are very blues-worthy: a father relapsing into alcoholism, a man stealing money from the offering hat, a boy on death row after an accidental murder, a robber haunted by his own guilt. It also has Nathan Willet, whose alarming wail of a voice, practically overflowing with soul, is perfect, even when it’s trying to reach far too high for its own good. It has the pianos, too.

But what makes Cold War Kids special, and what probably earned them all that buzz, is the way they blend the blues with the simplicity of indie rock and the harmony, melody, and strong rhythm of soul. If it wasn’t for that, then lines like “all us boys on death row/ we’re just watin’ for a pardon,”  “hang me up to dry/ you wrung me out too, too, too many times,” and even Willet’s voice would probably just sound like their way of trying way too hard.

Oh, one other great thing about this album I should mention: it’s really, really catchy. That probably lends itself to the indie-rock simplicity. Or maybe the blues structures. Whatever it is, I’ll probably be singing these songs in my head for weeks. So, yeah. That’s really all I have to say about that.

Anyways, you could probably tell I liked this album. Simplicity, catchiness, and marvelous voices make me happy.

So, there it is. My first review of a blues album. Oh, how I’ve come so far in life.

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Next time, I’ll try to keep in mind that I shouldn’t write record reviews when I’m tired. Also, I will watch and review Oldboy. Oldboy! Actually, I will not be watching Oldboy, as the only version Netflix will let me stream is that with dubbing. Terrible, terrible dubbing. I will not stand for this! Instead, I will temporarily leave my foreign selection and dive into anime, starting with Paprika. There are no rules! Chaos! Disorder! Etc.!

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