For a good while now, the world has known that Cold War Kids are a band that can’t slow down once they get going. Now controlling their output through their own imprint, the band is in the midst of an album cycle like you’ve never seen before. While they just released a new acclaimed album New Age Norms 1, the band has plans for other volumes coming soon. With that said, they’ve just released a five song E.P. titled Strings & Keys that showcases their new material in a more stripped down manner.
What’s immediately noticeable here, is how magnificent these songs sound stripped down. With “Complainer” the band adds strings that accentuate the hooks and really show off their skills in a new element. Up against keys, the piano driven sound of “Waiting for Your Love” sounds beautiful with the falsetto vocals. But it’s not just that the band has reimagined what these newer tracks sound like here, they’ve completely reworked them with backing vocals and a whole new delivery.
While “Beyond the Pale” hits hard here with the organ based lead, the track “Freedom” has the biggest impact. With a more funky tone, the George Michael cover has all the trappings of a sleeper cover song hit. The way the organ mixes with the strings and vocals creates a vibe that’s stunning. The backing vocals give the song that soulful touch that Michael brought when he did it unplugged as well. But the magic here comes in the pre-chorus and the chorus itself. The emotion in the vocals is something you just need to hear for yourself, because it’s truly wondrous.
Strings & Keys is available physically as a cassette at all upcoming shows, as well as directly from the band’s web store. It’s also available from all digital outlets and can be streamed on all platforms. Cold War Kids are on tour now. They’ll appear at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH tonight until February 21 at The Novo in Los Angeles, CA. Their complete tour schedule is located here.
Image Credits: Photo by Allen Alcantra.