For those who could never quite get what Cold War Kids frontman Nathan Willett was trying to do on the breakthrough single “Hang Me Out to Dry,” turn back now. For the Fullerton quartet’s sophomore release, Loyalty to Loyalty, Willett’s warbled, Jeff Buckley-esque cries are not only the driving force-they’re the whole show. That said, for those who can get past the initial shock, Willet certainly has plenty to say. Bluesy, parlor-style piano theatrics take a backseat to a gut-wrenching tale of suicide on “Golden Gate Jumpers,” while Willett comes across especially pained and empty on the role-reversed “Every Man I Fall For.” The nods to classic American soul, gospel-infused R&B, and Southern rock come through both instrumentally and vocally, resulting in an album that stretches far beyond what most radio-friendly rockers currently have to offer.


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