Mylo Xyloto EMI****
This oddly named new Colplay album was supposed to be released late last year but was postponed because its predecessor, Viva la Vida, still had legs. It’s safe to predict that Mylo Xylotowill be one of the biggest albums of the year as it’s quite clear that Chris Martin & co have songs spilling out of them – and quality control isn’t an issue.
The title means nothing; it’s a made-up term that was chosen because it “looked nice and had plenty of O’s”. Ostensibly a concept album about boy meets girl, there is supposedly a masculine/ feminine dichotomy to the songs. But then again, Martin has also said that the album was inspired by HBO’s The Wire. What matter?
The opening title track is an instrumental scene-setter that delivers us into the aerobic workout that is Hurts Like Heaven.Impossibly jaunty, with a big guitar sound punctuating the bouncy rhythm, it’s a perfectly executed song.
The promised “more intimate, acoustic” parts of the album don’t really make their presence felt until later. Before getting to them there’s Paradise, which has a slightly woozy feel to it and some orchestral flourishes that jolly it along nicely.
Charlie Brownkeeps the tempo up. With its big, gleamy feel, this is a stadium-friendly anthem in waiting. But then Mylo Xyloto changes tone completely with the almost hushed Us Against the World, a doomed romantic ballad with Martin exploring a different vocal register. And you’ll be surprised by how well they nail down the r’n’b rhythms on Princess of China(with Rihanna on vocals, if you don’t mind). There is also material that their recent Oxegen guest, Christy Moore, would be proud to have collaborated on.
Nothing on Mylo Xylotowill hose down the detractors. This is very much Coldplay 2.0, with a sound that has been pulled into tight focus and an embarrassing abundance of new musical ideas to play with. They even manage to channel the sound of a Nick Drake fronting a West End musical on the closing track, Up with the Birds.
It all just seems so effortless for Coldplay. It’s as if they wanted an album whose individual songs could be played at any time of day on any radio music station. They still shine on. See coldplay.com
Download tracks: Hurts Like Heaven, Charlie Brown, Us Against the World, Princess of China