Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
Based on Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathanael West's 1933 novel about the mental breakdown of an advice columnist, Cold War Kids’ fourth album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, is somewhat conceptual. The newfound energy here might be because former Modest Mouse and Murder City Devils guitarist Dann Gallucci joined the band shortly after original guitarist Jonny Russell departed. Gallucci also helped mix these recordings alongside producer Lars Stalfors (Matt & Kim and Funeral Party). “Miracle Mile” opens with a piano pounding out notes just as hard as Matt Aveiro's ham-fisted drumming. Over this, Nathan Willett sings with a dire urgency unheard in preceding albums. “Lost That Easy” follows with muted drum machines and the low, buzzing distortion of synthesizers that recall early recordings by Depeche Mode and New Order. This spills over into “Loner Phase,” which—with its baritone guitar leads and fluttering keyboard tones—sounds like Peter Hook sat in the mixing chair. This approach fits Aveiro’s high tenor like a well-tailored tuxedo. Speaking of which, “Tuxedos” waltzes with the sweltering soul of the group's first album.