Monday, May 26, 2008

First review of the new Coldplay album

Here is one of the first reviews of the new Coldplay album to be released June 16 in the US.

Published: 24 May 2008

An album by some band I had never heard of landed on my desk yesterday.

I nearly lobbed it in the drawer of unheard music next to SCOUTING FOR GIRLS’ last release.

But the innocuous sleeve with an obscure codename was in fact holding the biggest album of the year — possibly the decade.

I can bring you the first full review of the new COLDPLAY CD, out on June 12.

And I think epic is the word. The full title — Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends — should have been a clue.

The band have really pushed the boundaries of what we expect from an album, producing a beautiful, serious and sometimes testing 45-minute disc.

The attention to detail is incredible. You can imagine CHRIS MARTIN, GUY BERRYMAN, JONNY BUCKLAND and WILL CHAMPION obsessing over every note and word in this, their fourth album.

The boys have developed and evolved their songwriting with each of their albums — from Parachutes, released in 2000, to A Rush of Blood To The Head two years later, then X&Y and now this.

They haven’t gone off the rails with drugs and booze, churning out rubbish, like many a band before them.

This latest album — much of which was recorded in churches in Spain and and Latin America — is full of religious references. It’s as heavy-going as the Bible but as ultimately as rewarding if that’s your bag.

The CD comes to life with a brilliant, glittering instrumental opener Life In Technicolour. It’s just a shame it doesn’t burst into a full track, lyrics and all, because it could have been the best on the album.

The atmospheric, haunting Cemeteries Of London follows next and is one of the songs clearly blessed by holy water.

Lost! is layered over the sort of tribal drum beat that, with all the talk of world music influences, some were expecting to be more dominant on the record.

A track called 42 — which again is littered with references of ghosts and heaven — has been rumoured to be the album’s conquering centrepiece.

But I think there are even better songs.

And as with many on this complex CD, it’s like two or more tracks in one.

So are — as the titles suggest — Lovers In Japan/Reign Of Love, Yes/Chinese Sleep Chant and Death And All His Friends/The Escapist.

Lovers In Japan/Reign Of Love is a classic. Parts are slightly U2-esque and you could almost imagine BONO singing it.

It’s a beautiful rolling number and I can picture Chris running through a field in the video.

I reckon the album’s first single, Violet Hill — the video for which features magnifying-glass-wielding Chris, slideshow below — is its lightest and most pop-friendly offering.

Coldplay released the track free online for a week on April 29 — during which time an amazing TWO MILLION people downloaded it.

I can imagine Chris pulling at his hair as the band perfected every single second of Viva La Vida.

They set out to make a musical equivalent of a work of art — and succeeded. They’ve come a long way since singing about the colour yellow.

Ok...I'm pumped now.

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