New Age Norms 1 is at the cusp of being an EP with its cap at eight songs, but because it is part of a larger planned trilogy, the three releases fall into the album camp. Starting off with a bang before rolling back the dial, Cold War Kids delivers a good package for the two singles already released, but the rest of the album does not pack the same punch.
“Complainer” is the hit made ready for the radio while the follow-up song “Fine Fine Fine” is the real gem of the album. Both songs carry a healthy dose of funk to spice up the indie rock band. These hits can put an audience in a state of rapture and will be met with cheers at their live shows.
The next two songs “Waiting for Your Love” and “Beyond the Pale” slow down the pace and work as filler while waiting to get back to the funk introduced at the beginning of the album. Nathan Willett’s strong voice is an alluring draw to these slow jams, but they lack a more distinctive sound from the rest of the band to separate them from other sentimental artists.
New Age Norms 1 continues to alternate between funk-rock and indie sentimental for the rest of the album. While it gives the collection of songs a change of pace, there is not a consistent theme for one particular mood. Half of the album is geared toward kickin’ back on your porch while the other half is meant to get people moving. It shows a range of talent from a great band, but since New Age Norms is being divided into three releases, it would have been feasible to separate each album into their respective genres to give listeners a cohesive experience rather than a broad spectrum of the band’s talents.
Overall it is a good album, but most listeners will choose their favorite songs to add to their playlist rather than play the album from beginning to end on multiple occasions. It will be interesting to see whether New Age Norms 2 and 3 will be a similar mishmash heard in the first release, or if their resulting styles be entirely different. There is no listed release date for the rest of the trilogy, so it is likely those songs are still in production. Despite the disjointed shuffling between genres, Cold War Kids delivers several unique hits that are worth checking out.