(Photo Credit - Rodrigo Villordo)
Advance Review - Cold War Kids - New Age Norms 1 (November 1, 2019)
New Age Norms 1 opens with "Complainer", a track that has a beat that will make you instantly want to move. The hook is catchy as hell as well. The song overall builds quite well when that hook pops. As far as strong intros to an album go, I don't know that you can do much better than this. It's fun, it has a message, it's catchy, and it's sure to be in rotation on alt radio stations in no time.
"Fine, Fine, Fine" is up next and it's a fantastic indie rock tune that pops off perfectly again at the hook. Nathan Willett's vocals are solid throughout as he is also joined by a backing chorus which juxtaposes his vocals well. There's a certain level of manic-funk to the track and I absolutely love it. It keeps the party continuing from "Complainer".
Next up is "Waiting for Love", which shifts a bit more disco-electronic. There seems to be a theme here as Cold War Kids have been playing with genre throughout the album, fusing styles to fit a sort of new indie mix. It's pretty brilliant. "Beyond the Pale" slows things down a bit with some fantastic piano work. The star of the show here though is Willett and his vocals. He soars throughout the track effortlessly going all over his register. It's a great track to jam to if you want to slow it down a bit.
In "Dirt in My Eyes", Cold War Kids tend to move back to a traditional indie vibe. I absolutely love how the melody and Willett's vocals tease the chorus. There's a moment where Willett goes a little higher than I think is advisable on the chorus, but it doesn't kill the chorus. The piano returns for "4th of July" and so does the soulful sensation to the melody. The chorus of the track is absolutely outstanding as Willett outdoes himself vocally. It's definitely one you don't want to miss. "Calm Your Nerves" is a bit alt-poppy, but it just might be my favorite track on the album because of how well it builds on itself before the breakdown.
Closing Thoughts - Vocals, vocals, vocals...Nathan Willett puts on a tour de force on this album. It must be recognized and I'm here to say that alone is worth the price of admission. However, Cold War Kids bring so much more to the table here. They fuse indie with other genres effortlessly and it sounds great. The only downside for me here was that there were only nine songs on the album, but that's just me being picky.
Rating - 5/5
COLD WAR KIDS
NORTH AMERICA 2019/2020
14 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
15 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
16 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues Anaheim
17 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater
18 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
20 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
22 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
16 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
17 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
18 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
19 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
22 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
23 – Omaha, NE – The Slowdown
24 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
25 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre
27 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
28 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
29 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
31 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
1 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
4 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
5 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
7 – Richmond, VA – The National
8 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Charlotte
10 – Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
12 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
14 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
15 – Austin, TX – Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater