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Cold & Kind

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Album Review

The 1900s' debut album, Cold & Kind, lives up to the promise of the EP that preceded it and then some. 2006's Plume Delivery had many charms, from the rich arrangements and hook-filled songs, to the lovely voices of the group's trio of singers. Cold & Kind keeps these assets firmly in place but improves on them greatly. The record's songs are instantly memorable, emotionally wrenching, and will linger long after the disc stops spinning. The arrangements are more sophisticated and inventive, and the voices are stronger and more assured. Indeed if you're a fan of vocal harmonies, Caroline Donovan and Jeanine O'Toole will give you goosebumps with the otherworldly assists they give Edward Anderson's equally fine vocals. When one of the women step out front, as on "When I Say Go," or when their harmonies lead the song, like on "The Medium Way," it's like a '30s starlet has walked into the room, backlit and angelic, to take your breath away. Surrounding the voices are painstakingly recorded, immaculately crafted arrangements featuring strings, horns, all manner of keyboards, tambourines, and just the right amount of atmosphere the song calls for, whether it's rollicking and loose on the yearning "Two Ways," haunting and spare on the chilling "Supernatural," or quiet and thoughtful on the resigned and melancholy "City Water." Cold & Kind is a widescreen, epic kind of record that sounds huge but can shrink down on a dime and focus on tiny details, a record as warm as a bath on a cold winter night and as satisfying as that first instant your head hits the pillow after an endless day. It's not a precious, museum piece though. Unlike some bands who get their influence from the baroque sounds of bands like the Zombies, the Bee Gees, and the Left Banke, the 1900s aren't afraid to pierce the gauzy chamber pop arrangements with sharp guitars. They don't shy away from upping the tempo now and then, and they aren't adverse to raising their voices above a whisper. Cold & Kind is the kind of record that will capture the heart of anyone lucky enough to discover it, a glittering jewel of well-written, perfectly recorded, and heartbreakingly honest and true music nestled in the trash heap of product that floods that market each week.


Formed: 2004 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Chicago indie pop outfit the 1900s officially formed in the spring of 2004, but the group's roots date back more than a decade. Singer/guitarist Edward Anderson, guitarist Mike Jasinski, and drummer Tim Minnick first collaborated in high school, playing experimental noise rock under the name Minotaurs of P. Collegiate commitments forced the project to dissolve, but in 2001 Anderson returned to Chicago, signing on with Minnick's current band, roots rockers Forty Piece Choir. His tenure proved brief,...
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Cold & Kind, The 1900s
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