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FROM THIS EPISODE

With their fourth record, Southern California's premiere soul/punk outfit get self-reflective. "We're so afraid of getting worse with age," sings Nathan Willett on "Loner Phase," and while that might just be the position of the character in the song, there's definitely a sense that the band think about the future with concern. An unlikely candidate to cover the cheeky 80s anthem, "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades," Cold War Kids can sometimes sound downright worried.

Their musical touchstones on Dear Miss Lonelyhearts share a similar gloomy outlook, with the thunderous drums and heavy reverb recalling Scottish post-punkers The Skids or some of Peter Gabriel's creepier 80s work. Even the album's title seems to be a reference to Nathanael West's pitch-black Depression-era satire, Miss Lonelyhearts. But in the end, they tackle life's travails with a touch of zen. "It may be permanent, it may be peace of mind / But you have to slow down and breathe one breath at a time," Willett sagely explains on the album's rousing opener, "Miracle Mile." The moments of clarity ultimately win and we're all the better for having made the memorable journey.

-ERIC J. LAWRENCE

Track List:

01. Miracle Mile
02. Lost That Easy
03. Loner Phase
04. Fear & Trembling
05. Tuxedos
06. Bottled Affection
07. Jailbirds
08. Water & Power
09. Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
10. Bitter Poem

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Cold War Kids

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