Tag Archives: Coldplay

Kodaline // Coming Up For Air – Review

Irish 4-piece Kodaline release their all important second album ‘Coming Up For Air’, which brings with it the unenviable task of bettering their breakthrough record ‘In A Perfect World’, an album that saw them gain widespread popularity in an increasingly difficult musical climate.

The opening track and lead single from the album ‘Honest’, gets things off to a prompt start, and immediately introduces us to the echoing synth sounds and “wooaah’s” that play a vital role in the composition of this record. Huge synth bass carries the poignant chorus, with Steve Garrigan asking “Is it in you to be honest?” Switching between relatively intense sounds and more solemn vocal parts makes this opening track an engaging and effortlessly catchy start. ‘The One’ follows on pleasantly with a gentle introduction featuring piano and Garrigan’s reflective vocals. This shamelessly gushing love song is made all the more enjoyable by well controlled strings and inventive synth sounds skulking behind the echoing guitars.

‘Auto Pilot’ begins with gentle percussion, followed by subtle guitar, smooth vocals and some sensitive harmonies. The percussive backing remains throughout, while the vocals build and the backing choir adds satisfying depth to what is instrumentally a relatively simple song. The alarming guitar and synth sounds wake us up promptly in ‘Human Again’. “I got a pain in my heart and a pain in my chest, I wanna be human again” rings out over a contrastingly upbeat sound, powered by a stamping snare drum. Raising the vocals an octave further emphasises the desire for positive change that screams from this track. ‘Unclear’ almost sounds like it’s been recorded underwater, with only whispering vocals and bass guiding us initially, before the ever present ‘wooaah’s’ again come into play. The choir of young voices is brilliantly used to once again hammer us into an unavoidably positive mood.

The sixth track, which bares an immense resemblance to Coldplay’s ‘Hurts Like Heaven’, features yet more wooing along with simple but hugely effective guitar riffs that explode into Garrigan’s “coming alive!”. Altering the riffs slightly each time keeps the track fresh and interesting, and staunchly maintains the records obdurately optimistic feel. ‘Lost’ is a track that wouldn’t be out of place on a recent ‘Muse’ album, with futuristic sounds fluctuating behind the rest of the track, in a similar vein to the heavily adjusted guitars that play a key role in the following track ‘Ready’. Very simple structurally, but effortlessly catchy, the piercing high notes towards the end of the song work surprisingly well and make up for the regrettably lazy lyrics of the chorus.

Acoustic guitar is used prominently for the first time on track nine ‘Better’, which is a turning point in the album, moving from relentless positivity to inconsolable sorrow in the blink of an eye. “It doesn’t feel right” saps the good feeling that has been built up for the duration of the album thus far, but gloriously delivered vocals in the chorus rouse this impossibly beautiful track into something of a show piece, with building strings accompanying the vocals superbly. “Cause it’s making me worse” aptly brings the song to an end, and leaves the listener wondering what an earth happened between tracks eight and nine to warrant such pristine melancholia. Mercifully though, spotting the title of the next track will settle the bottom lip of any potentially blubbering listeners. ‘Everything Works Out In The End’ is a contemplative track which returns to a positive tone, with soothing vocal accompaniment and prominent piano helping to build us back up again.

The penultimate track cracks off suddenly, with some ‘ooing’, and what may well be a kazoo in the mix. “Nobody’s gonna carry you” is a fitting lyric in this uplifting and motivating song that utilises a huge array of different instruments. ‘Love Will Set You Free’ closes out the record perfectly, persevering with the reflective tone “This ain’t no sad song, life has to go on”. The piano, drums and acoustic guitar are fortified with brass and a large choir of woah-ers, all while Garrigan majestically serenades us into a delightfully happy place.

‘Coming Up For Air’ then is a record that will likely satisfy those listeners who have wanted something new from the alt-rock/pop scene. It’s hugely accessible lyrics, uplifting and – for the most part – positive tone, combined with the modern feel of the album make it difficult to dislike, and with heavenly tracks like ‘Better’, I can see them outdoing their first release with ease.

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Coldplay – Midnight

Today Coldplay released the video for ‘Midnight‘, a totally unanticipated new song. Beyonce did it with her latest album and everyone seemed to think it was a masterstroke. I’m all for surprises, but I’m also struggling to see the advantage, apart from rewarding fan’s patience with a few pleasurable minutes of realising their favoured artist hasn’t just been swilling Gout de Diamants for a couple of years.

I’m writing this after one listen, and as I like to think everyone knows, opinions of songs can change quite drastically the more they are listened to, but there’s no harm in chucking out some first impressions and early musings.

‘Midnight’ opens with an enchanting electronic aroma, which remains throughout, and is soon joined by some quite heavily modified vocal harmonies. Layers of simple electronic noise are built up over the next couple of minutes, though not so much that we begin to expect a classic Coldplay climax. That never really happens, and I almost wish it did. It continues with some largely inaudible vocals and builds a little bit more, but runs out of gas before anything memorable can happen.

Coldplay is made up of four proven talented musicians, listen to any of their previous albums (especially the first four) and you’ll realise that, but I can’t help but feel they’re trying too hard to be different, all while retaining their humongous popularity, which really isn’t going to happen after five albums without sacrificing an awful lot. Fair enough the piano and bass are audible, but that’s about as far as the showcase of instrumental ability goes, which I think is a complete waste.

The song doesn’t feel like a single to me, I can’t see it being released, it’s too forgettable, largely down to the absence of any lyrical substance. Chris Martin has an unprecedented knack for writing a lyric or a song that you will never forget. EVERYONE can sing a bit of Yellow, EVERYONE can sing a bit of The Scientist, EVERYONE can sing a bit of Fix You, EVERYONE can sing a bit of Viva La Vida, and EVERYONE can definitely sing a bit of PARADISE, they are (as much as some may wish they weren’t) incredibly well written and unforgettable. ‘Midnight’ does not stick in my head one bit.

When you’re a band as unquestionably massive as Coldplay, you can do pretty much whatever you want, so I can’t fault them for doing just that. But it pains me to see them throwing away some of their well-earned integrity just to keep up with the times. As I said earlier, this could well just be a one off release to make people aware they are still going, and as a legitimately obsessive Coldplay fan, I really fucking hope that’s all it is.

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