Robbers & Cowards

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Robbers & Cowards
Cowards and Robbers Cover.jpg
Studio album by Cold War Kids
Released October 10, 2006 (2006-10-10)
Recorded August 2006
Genre Indie rock, blues rock
Length 52:52
Label Downtown, V2
Producer Kevin Augunas, Cold War Kids
Cold War Kids chronology
Up in Rags/With Our Wallets Full
Robbers & Cowards
We Used to Vacation
Singles from Robbers & Cowards
  1. "We Used to Vacation"
    Released: 2006
  2. "Hang Me Up to Dry"
    Released: January 29, 2007
  3. "Hospital Beds"
    Released: 2007

Robbers & Cowards is the debut studio album by American indie rock band Cold War Kids. It was released on October 10, 2006 by Downtown Records. The album received a generally positive reception from critics who praised the band's blues rock production and morose lyrics. Robbers & Cowards peaked at number 173 on the Billboard 200 and spawned three singles: "We Used to Vacation", "Hang Me Up to Dry" and "Hospital Beds". To promote the album, the band spent most of 2007 touring across North America and Europe through appearances at music festival and talk shows.


On January 10, 2007, the band announced a 37-city extensive tour across North America that started with gigs alternating between New York City (Pianos, Mercury Lounge) and Los Angeles' Silverlake Lounge before ending with a two night gig in New York's Bowery Ballroom.[1] On June 7, 2007, the band started touring with The White Stripes on their fall tour.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[3]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[4]
IGN 8.6/10[5]
Lost At Sea 8.5/10[6]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork Media 5.0/10[8]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[10]
Stylus Magazine B[11]
Uncut 4/10[12]

Robbers & Cowards received generally positive reviews from music critics who were impressed with the band's blues rock sound and lyrics that told morose tales of yesteryear. Joe Tacopino of PopMatters praised the tracks for their production and mature storytelling, calling the album "more subtle and honest than Jack White’s various projects." He concluded with, "These ambitious youngsters are definitely worth the trip, even without the ostentatious vocal harmonies."[9] Despite finding the album a bit rushed and an amalgam of their previous EPs, Jeff Weiss of Stylus Magazine said that there's potential in the band from the first three singles concluding with, "It’s a good debut, maybe even a very good one. Whether or not this band will achieve greatness remains anybody’s guess."[11] Chad Grischow of IGN praised the tightly crafted production for sounding crisp yet cluttered and the tracks for conveying various introspective topics concluding with, "The depth of the music, topics, and lyrics is something that most bands spend years trying to pull together, but Cold War Kids pull it off on their debut with ease."[5] Betty Clarke of The Guardian commented on how the religious overtones in the songs can get tiring when Nathan Willett shouts about "murder and alcoholism that both sound like a tempting escape." But Clarke concluded by saying the band can still write great songs and Willett performs better sounding like Jeff Buckley than Jack White.[4]

The album did receive some negative reception. Joe Crofton of musicOMH called the album a mixed bag, saying that it loses momentum after the first two tracks and drags towards its conclusion. He commented that the influence of the Internet on the indie scene may have lessen the album concluding with, "That isn't to say that this is a bad album but it definitely doesn't deserve the headache inducing amount of hype that has surrounded it."[7] Sam Richards of Uncut found songs like "We Used to Vacation" and "Hang Me Up to Dry" showcased the band's "real gift for drama," but criticized the rest of the album for its misplaced blues production and sense of detachment from the songs.[12] Marc Hogan of Pitchfork Media criticized the band for its songwriting, melodies and Christian symbolism, saying that "Robbers and Cowards insults our intelligence a few times too often."[8] Cat Dirt Sez of the San Diego CityBeat said that Hogan's review was an example of lazy journalism,[13] with lead guitarist Jonnie Russell saying that the reviewer wanted a wittier approach to the album rather than a thoughtful assessment of it.[13]

The album was ranked number 30 by Rolling Stone on their list of Best Albums of 2006[14] and number 40 on Spin's list of The 40 Best Albums of 2006.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Cold War Kids.

No. Title Length
1. "We Used to Vacation" 4:14
2. "Hang Me Up to Dry" 3:38
3. "Tell Me in the Morning" 3:36
4. "Hair Down" 3:40
5. "Passing the Hat" 3:25
6. "Saint John" 3:26
7. "Robbers" 3:31
8. "Hospital Beds" 4:46
9. "Pregnant" 3:58
10. "Red Wine, Success!" 2:37
11. "God, Make Up Your Mind" 4:59
12. "Rubidoux" (includes hidden track "Sermon vs. the Gospel" – 3:40) 11:02


Adapted from the Robbers & Cowards liner notes.[16]

Band members
  • Nathan Willett - lead vocals, piano, guitar
  • Jonathan Bo Russell - guitar, piano, vocals
  • Matt Aveiro - drums, percussion
  • Matt Maust - bass
  • Cold War Kids - producer
  • Kevin Augunas - producer
  • Kevin Augunas - engineer
  • Matt Wignall - engineer, producer (Tracks 2 & 8)
  • Dave Sardy - mixer
  • Ted Jensen - mastering
  • Matt Maust - artwork
  • Matt Wignall - photography


Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States[23] October 10, 2006 CD Downtown
Germany[24] February 2, 2007 Digital download, CD V2
Australia[25] February 5, 2007
United Kingdom[26]
United States[27] May 12, 2007 Digital download Downtown
United Kingdom[28] March 3, 2014 Vinyl


  1. ^ SPIN Staff (January 5, 2007). "Cold War Kids to Tour". Spin. SpinMedia. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Cold War Kids Join Stripes". JamBase. June 7, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ O'Brien, Jon. "Robbers & Cowards – Cold War Kids". AllMusic. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Clarke, Betty (February 2, 2007). "CD: Cold War Kids, Robbers & Cowards (V2)". The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Grischow, Chad (December 28, 2006). "Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  6. ^ Shapiro, Ari (October 3, 2006). "Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards (Downtown)". Lost At Sea. Retrieved September 19, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Crofton, Joe (February 5, 2007). "Cold War Kids – Robbers and Cowards (V2)". musicOMH. Archived from the original on February 20, 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Hogan, Marc (October 19, 2006). "Cold War Kids: Robbers and Cowards". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Tacopino, Joe (October 30, 2006). "Cold War Kids: Robbers & Cowards Review". PopMatters. Archived from the original on November 30, 2006. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  10. ^ Ringen, Jonathan (October 30, 2006). "Robbers & Cowards Review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on December 19, 2006. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Weiss, Jeff (October 13, 2006). "Cold War Kids – Robbers and Cowards – Review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Richards, Sam. "Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards". Uncut. IPC Media. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Stereogum Staff (January 18, 2007). "Christianity And The Cold War Kids Backlash". Stereogum. Spin Media. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  14. ^ Stereogum Staff (December 14, 2006). "Rolling Stone's Best Albums Of '06". Stereogum. Spin Media. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ SPIN Staff (February 27, 2014). "The 40 Best Albums of 2006: Cold War Kids, Robbers & Cowards (Downtown)". Spin. SpinMedia. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  16. ^ Robbers & Cowards (liner notes). Cold War Kids. Downtown. 2006. 
  17. ^ " – Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards". Hung Medien.
  18. ^ "Cold War Kids | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  19. ^ "Cold War Kids – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Cold War Kids. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  20. ^ "Cold War Kids – Chart history" Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums for Cold War Kids. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  21. ^ "Cold War Kids – Chart history" Billboard Independent Albums for Cold War Kids. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  22. ^ "2007 Year-End Charts: Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  23. ^ " Cold War Kids: Robbers & Cowards: Music". Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Robbers & Coward: Musik". Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  25. ^ "iTunes - Music - Robbers & Cowards by Cold War Kids". iTunes (AU). Apple. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  26. ^ "iTunes - Music - Robbers & Cowards by Cold War Kids". iTunes (GB). Apple. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  27. ^ "iTunes - Music - Robbers & Cowards by Cold War Kids". iTunes (US). Apple. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Robbers & Cowards [VINYL] by Cold War Kids". Retrieved December 21, 2014.