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Lucy Hamblin

California indie-rock band Cold War Kids achieves a grown-up sound on its new album.

Cold War Kids frontman Nathan Willett knew before the quartet entered the studio that their next record was going to be different. “In terms of the ambition and intention of it,” he says, “I definitely think we were ready to do something a little more grand.”

Recorded over nine weeks — a month longer than it took to record their previous two albums combined — Mine Is Yours (Downtown Records, $11) pushes the band’s signature soul/punk sound and Willett’s soaring vocal delivery with a set of 11 inspiring tracks. “On both previous albums [2006’s Robbers & Cowards and 2008’s Loyalty to Loyalty], we put a great emphasis on recording things live and in very few takes,” Willett says. “This experience was much more about however many times it takes, tweaking it a lot of ways and trying different things.”

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To help the group master their sound, the Kids turned to producer Jacquire King, whose diverse clientele includes Tom Waits, Modest Mouse and Kings of Leon. “He seemed like somebody who could understand what it is that we do and help us to do it better,” Willett says.

As the band’s chief wordsmith, Willett has taken a more introspective approach to the lyrics on Mine Is Yours. From singing about letting his guard down on the hook-filled “Finally Begin” to working past the games people play on “Skip the Charades,” Willett puts all his cards on the table.

“In some ways, I realized with Loyalty that I wasn’t quite getting through,” he says. “With this record, I just kind of decided to go the opposite way — less abstract and more relational. More personal, talking about the commitment and failures and joys of my relationships and those I see around me.”