When you think of Long Beach, California, chances are you are not thinking of rock music. At least not at first. Instead, you get all the classic clichés of the beach and California life, all of which makes for some interesting material when you make an entire album about it. That is exactly what the band Cold War Kids did with their latest album “LA DIVINE.” It is a tribute to where they came from.
The California natives are no strangers in the music scene. Starting back in 2004, the band now has a career spanning 13 years and released five studio albums to this point. The amount of growth of maturity from then to now has always been apparent. Within the last few years, the band has started taking over airwaves with a few of their singles such as “Love Is Mystical” and “First.” It was only a matter of time before the band put out their sixth studio album and here we are with it, “LA DIVINE.”
“LA DIVINE” is a 14-track record that clocks in at around 44 minutes in length. From front to back, it is engaging, exciting and a lot of fun. This is a record that is comfortable and knows exactly what it is. We hear all the elements that we associate the most with Cold War Kids, but they are trying to keep things fresh a bit by mixing in some new elements. The interesting thing about this record is how much it is about where they came from as opposed to where they are going. It is reflective in a more meaningful way then what most bands try to do.
Musically, we have a lot of new exciting things within this entire record. Tracks like “No Reason To Run” and “So Tied Up” are built around the drums and the rhythm and are as fun to listen to as they are to move along with. That is the one thing they keep up with the entire record. There is not as much of a focus on guitar with this record, but some tracks do have some good riffs incorporated within them such as “Open Up the Heavens” and “Luck Down.” Overall, the record is mixed in a way that is very pop like and is at least a little new for the band. Structurally, the songs are not that different, they just come at a listener more. Every track is made to stand out and do its own thing, but together, it is all just one album jam packed with fun and energetic songs to get into.
Lyrically, this record is not holding back to when it comes to California. Listeners get a much more serious tone and approach to the clichés that most people associate with the area. Tracks like “Love is Mystical” and “Invincible” are the classic relationships songs for a 21st century. There are also some relationship songs that are more about the struggles of chasing after different dreams. “Can We Hang On?” is probably one of the standout tracks of the record for that reason. “Cameras Always On” and “Free to Breathe” are the perfect ending tracks to this record. These two tracks alone mellow out the mood and end the record on a much more somber note. It rounds out the ride that listeners have been on from start to finish and entices them to come back and listen to more. This is a much more mature sound than what we are used to from the band, and it works really well here.
Should you listen to it?: Yes!
Cold War Kids are at a unique spot with their career. Now on their sixth-studio album, “LA DIVINE” is the best part of the past 13 years for the band. We can tell this is the record they have always wanted to make. It is not to flashy and it certainly is not trying to change the game. This is a record that is more for Cold War Kids than anyone else. It is a great record to get into the band if you have not had the chance before. Overall, “LA DIVINE” is the record that is real and made to be fun. This is worth checking out.
Collegian reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CTV_Ace.