When the Cold War Kids first rose to the forefront of alternative music, they did so in a way that had fans hanging on for another album.
They’d been around having hits since 2008, but it took until 2015 for one of their songs, “First” to top Billboard’s Alternative Songs Chart. More music was demanded, and with their sixth studio album L.A. Divine, they certainly delivered and met everyone’s expectations. It seems their members are always shifting and changing, and it seems it’s happened again. David Quon has taken the place of Dann Gallucci as lead guitarist just in time to formulate the songs that make up this album.
The title, L.A Divine, is indicative of the type of music listeners are presented. Every step taken was intentional to create vibes that are reminiscent of California and their sentiments. Not surprisingly, this album captures the essence of the social and political uprising the United States has seen recently.
Not everything is metaphorical – in fact, many of their songs are very explicit. Rather than distract from the instrumentals or vocals, the lyrics and their meaning augment them. They are able to pull off sending a message without losing the integrity of the other aspects put into a piece of art like this.
“Love Is Mystical” opens up the album with a hard hitting tune. It was the first single released, and they couldn’t have picked a better song. The heavy piano is a great aspect and calls to the blues-y side to the Cold War Kids. This soulful and gritty sound is seen in many successful alternative bands of today such as Kaleo. However, it came from this band that’s been around for over a decade. The vocal range is particularly astounding and makes it hands down my favorite song. The prevalence of the piano continues throughout, particularly in “Can We Hang On?”
If you delve deeply into the lyrics of “Invincible,” you can see the political aspect reflected. “We cried out for justice/Now it’s just a fairytale/Box in our cars on Christmas/Is it just a wasted prayer?” rings out with a croon. It is almost certainly in reaction to the election, and it speaks to the depression that people have felt after the outcome – that “justice” has not been done.
Music has always been a platform for artists to use to reach multitudes of people. What is striking is that they didn’t take away from the artistry of the guitar lines or the interesting rhythms coming from the drums. It’s subtle enough but still has a punch to it. This song also particularly has a bass line that drives the tempo and keeps it steady. “Open Up To The Heavens” is also a song worth mentioning. You hear deep vocals that draw you in from the beginning, and it creates an ambiance of comfort.
It wouldn’t be correct to say this album is inspiring. Rather, it is reflective of what everyone is feeling and hearkens to innate human emotions. Every single song has emotive lyrics and instrumentals that create an album that is a strong follow-up to their extremely successful Hold My Home. It’s worth a serious listen to for everyone, even if alternative music isn’t on your radar.