In 2000, a four-piece rock group from England called Coldplay released there
Debut album, Parachutes, to critical and commercial acclaim. Even if their name doesn’t sound familiar, their debut single, “Yellow,” probably does. Coldplay picks up right where “Yellow” left off with their latest release entitled A Rush of Blood to the Head.
If you are unfamiliar with Coldplay’s sound, think of a mix between early U2, early Radiohead, and Travis. The formula is familiar, sweet melodies mixed with passionate lyrics, but Coldplay seem to turn it up a notch on their sophomore release.
In particular, guitarist Jon Buckland really comes to the forefront during most songs. On the debut CD (with the exception of “Yellow”), Buckland was in thebackground, hidden mainly by Chris Martin’s soaring vocals. On Rush of Blood, the guitar work is much more heavy and raw.
Frontman Martin certainly cannot be overlooked, however.
He returns just as strong in his vocal delivery as he did on the first disc. His piano work is outstanding as well, especially on “The Scientist,” where his piano really drives the song. His lyrical themes are simple but effective, as he sings about lost love, war, and even politics.
Holding all this together is the rhythm section of bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion. Nothing spectacular from these two, but just enough to give the album good cohesiveness. With Coldplay it almost seems like less is more.
In a different era of music it is quite possible that five or six tracks from the album could easily receive heavy radio play. From the first single, “In My Place,” to perhaps the strongest song, “Warning Sign,” the hooks and melodies are catchy enough to have you humming along the rest of the day.
Other highlights include the raw opener, “Politik,” which seamlessly changes from raw anger at the start to sheer beauty at the climax. Just as solid is the haunting “Daylight,” which could easily be the next single.
A common complaint about Coldplay is that they are too much like fellow Brit rockers Radiohead. While there are definite similarities, mostly in the vocal stylings of Martin and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, they don’t prevent Coldplay from going in their own direction, where lately Radiohead has thrived on electronic experimentation, Coldplay let the songs speak for themselves.
In a time where hip-hop and pop seem to have a monopoly on the music industry, Coldplay has made a classic rock and roll album along the same lines of The Joshua Tree by U2 or Grace by Jeff Buckley. And a change of pace every now and then certainly isn’t a bad thing.