Cold War Kids – Manchester Academy 1 - 25.10.07

Hailed as the US’ greatest ‘new-band’ Cold War Kids are seemingly still riding high amongst both critics and patrons, leading us to believe maybe the deluge of acclaim that bombarded the band post ‘Hang me Out’ may hold some weight.

But first up is Patrick Watson the greasy balladeer. Watson is a curious mixture of the ethereal vocals of Antony Hegarty and sorta Nick Drake, backed by a limp Radiohead (Luscious life – in particular). Maybe on paper that doesn’t read so bizarre, but in reality Watson’s form is difficult to digest. Its almost an X-factor style vocal audition, where Watson challenges (and effortlessly reaches we might add) extents of the human vocal range, of course its applaudible, just not quite palatable and when coupled with hookless tunes we are left in meagre confusion.

The timely release and re-release, and re-release of ‘Hang me Out To Dry’ has maintained a slow swell of fans, yet the release of debut album Cops and Robber failed to capitalise, and effectively highlighted their lack of control. They are unique, and tonight are much tighter and less shambolic than on recent Manchester outings, but the fundamental jarring’s still remain, and that is solely down to (in our opinion) their incessant use of the piano. Stripped down to essentials the sparse quirky style of the rhythm section, characterised by that brooding baseline and prickly guitar of that song sound perfectly constructed, and although Nathan Willett’s vocals are often too highly strung for comfort they sit flawless above. That is until stumpy is unable to control his piano passion and bangs the ivories. In certain contexts it works, in rock/pop music you’ll be hard pushed to find a glowing patron, as is the case for the Cold War Kids, and as such a cathartic stench of the Starsailors and Keanes arises. Which is a shame, as these boys obviously have a penchant for a tune, which would be sourly missed considering how little the US has to offer at present.

America’s greatest new band? Maybe, but then the competition has a lot to answer for.

Words: Daniel Pratley
Photos: Richard Sherwood

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