Coldplay CD review [Capitol]

Music Reviews
Coldplay CD review [Capitol]
Aug 27, 2002, 21:20

COLDPLAY A Rush of Blood To The Head CD

Coldplay are babies—chronologically speaking, that is. Just shy of their mid-20s, they have a dignity in their music and their offstage decorum that some older performers could emulate. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Vince Neil.) Their classic rock influences are impeccably tasteful, as if they'd eaten a MOJO and washed it down with a frosty puree of Nick Hornby's Songbook. Yet I can't hate them. A Rush of Blood to the Head is a sumptuously produced confection of puffy keyboards, restrained guitars solos lasting only a bar or two, and Chris Martin's plaintive good-guy singing. “In My Place” is a churchy ballad a bit reminiscent of prime Procol Harum, with a slow, deliberate guitar hook winding around Martin's yearning vocal, that rightfully deserves the airplay it's gotten in the past year. The songs with actual minor chords in them, “God Put a Smile on My Face,” and “Daylight” have a sting to them that highlights their prettiness—sort of like deliberately rumpling up a supermodel for the camera.

But they are at a crossroads. They're so sensible and comfortable in their own skins, I don't know exactly how they will be able to surpass Rush's high points. I can't see them making themselves deliberately ugly, a la Radiohead, but their ability to churn out big wedding ballads is unnerving. “A Whisper” has the kind of bombastic melodicism that steers it near 70s pop-prog territory, as does the bridge on “A Rush of Blood to The Head.” And somehow I suspect that becoming a smarter Alan Parsons Project or a nicer later-period Pink Floyd isn't going to exactly satisfy them. Rush is so tidy, comfy and poised, I'm not sure how they can build upon it without getting willfully arty or syrupy. I'm curious and hopeful about their future, and yet, very, very skeptical. [Capitol]

-Cecile Cloutier

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