Cold War Kids' second album, Loyalty to Loyalty, was critically received as a huge drop-off from their immensely successful debut, Robbers and Cowards, and at first, I agreed. The album moved slower and had much more filler than the first. But after repeated listens, I developed a profound respect for Loyalty, which demonstrated the Cold War Kids' creative depth and expansion and presented some truly haunting blues melodies.
But after repeated listens, I also found what was wrong with Loyalty to Loyalty: a lack of joyous, gospel-blues tracks the Kids could create with ease if they wanted. There was only one: the phenomenal "Every Valley Is Not A Lake." Save for that song, the Kids just weren't having enough fun with their rattling, soul-searching anthems.
But now, Nathan Willet, his high-pitched wail, and company are back, with a stunning track of their upcoming EP that is catchy, poppy, and most of all, fun. "Audience Of One" is filled with heavy pounding piano, Willet's exceptional voice (sounding more melodic than whiny), and even some creative fuzzy synths and hand-claps. Dare you not to tap your toes, bop your head, and sing along to this one. After Willet's first reach of a high note ("playing FOR an audience of one") and falsetto "ooos" that follow, you'll be hooked.
Under it all, somehow, lies the Cold War Kids' melancholy side. The sad, reflective side that always seems to find a way to get into their music — after all, Willet's only playing "for an audience of one."