Cold War Kids, ‘Behave Yourself’ (Downtown)
Never say this California quartet isn’t crowd-pleasing: They swagger into opener “Audience” with a crisp breakbeat that anchors Nathan Willett’s loose, blue-eyed soul testifying; it may be the closest indie rock ever comes to Maroon 5. As usual, though, Willett also tries to showcase his brainpower, clumsily referencing works most commonly studied in AP literature. The entirety of “Sermons,” for example, is a J.D. Salinger homage. But the four-song EP is perfectly short; if you focus on the sturdy tunes and ignore the pseudo-smartness, it’s plenty sweet, too.
WATCH: Cold War Kids, “Audience”