Saturday, July 19, 2008

Album Review - Coldplay

Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends
[Parlophone; 12/06/08]

Coldplay arrive at album number four, and for those who aren't already aware, these guys are kind of a big deal. Already being appointed the "biggest" band this decade has to offer, a statement or an opinion I'm not that unhappy about, as we'd have to go find some other band to pin it on and that would no doubt be a controversial hot topic. Record shows that it takes Coldplay three years to produce something so within that time, you're always expecting some kind of brilliance. Firstly the thing that drew me to the album was the first time collaboration between them and Brian Eno and surprisingly the somewhat uncharacteristic album artwork and title (For those interested, the title was taken from a Frida Kahlo piece, a 20th century Mexican painter).

Curious as I was in lead up to the album release, I checked out both singles "Violet Hill" and "Viva La Vida" which gave a small taste of what the record would offer, while both these tracks leave alot to be desired they show the direction in which the band take this time around. In context of the album, "Cemeteries of London" takes Viva off in it's first stride with an eclectic array of goings on, from the eerie opening and the subtle piano to the thrashing of acoustic guitar to Buckland's Edge like predictable but sufficient guitar work, the song gets the album off to a decent start. Following is "Lost!" which is quite possibly my favourite, begins again in an eerie organ like fashion as the song hits the chorus in an anthemic like way, with Chris Martin wailing about fishes and ponds, it's quite good. "42" isn't far behind the previous track as it takes quite an interesting turn about midway through the song, as beginning as a ballad exploding into a raucous rock and roll experience until about three quarters way through, hits the pop side of things then finishes the way it starts.

"Lovers in Japan-Reign of Love", "Yes" and "Death and All His Friends" have something in common, apart from being the longest songs in the Coldplay canon they are all two songs within the one, which is kind of an interesting way to present your music. While Yes has an addictive chorus, Death and All His Friends displays Coldplay at their most rocking. As the band progresses it's good to see they are experimenting a little even if it's a little overwhelming when the most notable magazines throw statements on the front like "Coldplay go weird" or whatnot. While their first two records remain untouchable within context of their back catalogue I think it's safe to say this is more of a consistent effort than X & Y an effort that had some good songs but got a bit dry too soon after. The good thing about Viva, is that it's hard to guess which single they will release next (probably Lost!). Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends is a solid record if not being entirely brilliant, Eno adds a nice touch even if the album doesn't stray from itself too much.


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