Nope, not a Christian rock band. But that's a label that much of the music press would attempt to tag the Cold War Kids with following their breakout success in 2006.
When they were new, the Cold War Kids dominated pop and indie radio with a pair of quirky hits-- "Hang Me Out to Dry," and "Something Is Not Right With Me."
But following the news that three of the band's members had indeed met while attending Biola University, a private evangelical campus in Los Angeles, critics seemed hell-bent on finding anything even resembling scriptural references hiding amongst the band's lyrics.
Now based in Long Beach, the Cold War Kids began in 2004 in Fullerton, an unlikely home of punk, hardcore, and Gwen Stefani. Within two years they had a record deal and were experiencing an upward mobility described, ironically, by earlier self-released EPs such asUp in Rags
andWith Our Wallets Full
. Not bad for a band that, only a couple of years prior, was an unknown resident Silver Lake bar-gig opening act.
The band owed at least a fraction of their rapid growth to the Internet. "It was a really helpful thing," singer Nathan Willett told a Black Book reporter about blogger support, "for us to get people to our shows to see what we're about."
In those early days, what audiences saw was a band that was learning its trade in the midst of the growing pains. The Kids could be incendiary (Detroit Bar and Casbah shows come to mind,) or they could border on DOA as they did at San Diego's Street Scene one year where they tested new songs from the lackluster Loyalty to Loyalty.
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In January, Cold War Kids will release their third studio album. Mine is Yours is built around the standard elements: Willet's strained-to-the-breaking-point tenor, keyboards that are reduced to the most minimal of percussive down strokes, and Jonnie Russell's bleak and distant guitar. Mine is Yours is a collection of songs about relationships, Willett told a reporter.
(Download a free MP3 of the single "Louder than Ever" here.)
And judging by an early release video, if CWK actually do any Bible beating it's done on their own time.