Loyalty To Loyalty - Cold War Kids

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. More often than not, Loyalty to Loyalty takes a disappointing stumble on it.
  2. 60
    Throughout the album, haunted-saloon piano and reverb-choked guitar conjure a murky, wobbly misaligned version of old R&B.
  3. Loyalty is more low-key than its predecessor and less focused.
  4. Cold War Kids are perhaps the only band out there ambitious enough to tackle head-on the contradictions and heartaches of America, past and present, and to do so with this passion and intelligence.
  5. On their stunning and haunting second album, the Long Beach, Calif., quartet have racheted up their faux-mono production values and woozy chops. [26 Sep 2008, p.93]
  6. 88
    Loyalty To Loyalty proves that, through it all, the Cold War Kids are a keeper. [Fall 2008, p.90]
  7. Almost in defiance of poor sales and cult following, CWK and their charming second album embody everything you hoped music might be.
  8. Loyalty to Loyalty, an improvement on 2006's filler-heavy debut, is a sincere, if preachy, advertisement for integrity over image.
  9. It’s a better-than-solid album from a band that seems equipped to someday make a classic one.
  10. But ultimately, Loyalty to Loyalty leaves a weird aftertaste, and it's not just because the penultimate 'Relief' tries to prop itself up on Willett's falsetto harangues and stuttering slap-bass, before 'Cryptomnesia' ends the record collapsing into a rumpled heap.
  11. The members of Cold War Kids have deepened their sound rather than expanding it.
  12. The Californian four-piece's follow-up is less inspired, however, lacking any memorable tunes or winning hoks to distract from Nathan Willett's grating falsetto, and much of the album is heavy going. [Oct 2008, p.141]
  13. Cold War Kids attack their songs with unusual intensity, infusing even the most noirish, unsettling songs--fractured narratives about hipster bohemia and suicide--with a feeling of enchantment.
  14. Cold War Kids have exploded rather than refined their style here, which too often turns what were formerly strengths into liabilities and turns what were formerly liabilities into, well, even greater liabilities.
  15. 50
    Relying on sturdy-legged piano chords ('I've Seen Enough'), boogie rock ('Mexican Dogs'), and caffeinated backbeats to boost Willett's narratives, Loyalty to Loyalty is rarely subtle.
  16. The loyalty to the exact sound--minus the real hooks--that got Cold War Kids noticed keeps things mostly stagnant.
  17. Nathan Willett remains a technically proficient singer, with hints of Jeff Buckley, but much like his band's music, his voice is too drearily clean-cut to deliver a true emotional punch.
  18. 60
    The skeletal bluesy shuffles are easy to follow, but the likes of 'Avalanch In B' suggest a band lyrically happy to keep the unpleasantness in their woodshed under wraps. [Oct 2008, p.81]
  19. For those who can accept Willett's voice for what it is--a jagged, yet neccessarily appropriate fixture that suits the music's rough edges--Cold War Kids have made a record that will please the existing fanbase, and quite possibly earn some new pledges of loyalty. [Fall 2008, p.74]
  20. 80
    Loyalty to Loyalty, the band’s sophomore release, isn’t as immediately impacting as that first round of songs, but CWK didn’t lose their charm (or literary obsessions), either.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. jeffj
    May 9, 2009
    At first this album struck me as not as catchy and hook-heavy as their previous album but, I like that. A few listens allows the album to soak into you. Granted, there are a couple low points but, overall, this is an original album among the common cookie cutter albums that are abound. Also, Chris H. can I borrow your dictionary? Does it contain the words "verbose" or "pretentious?" Full Review »
  2. MatthewA.
    Oct 1, 2008
    It took me about a week to get past the production, but once I adjusted, this album has been in my earphones nonstop. It is a different in sound from last album; less sparce, cleaner, less obvious hooks even. But the songwriting is solid, and while I wouldn't classify it as a pop album, the songs have been in my head when I wake every morning. Love it. Full Review »
  3. KevinM.
    Sep 24, 2008
    Attention to lyrics and detail. They bring meaning back to music. Like Robbers and Cowards, a perfect 10 in my book.