Coldplay's debut, Parachutes, was perhaps too mellow for its own good, too sedate in its good-vibes homogeneity to stand up to repeated listens. But A Rush of Blood to the Head is a nervier, edgier, thoroughly surprising album. The guitars are still full of Pink Floyd, but the band has figured out how to let loose and rock out, something Floyd never learned. The same influences are here: the Radiohead of The Bends and OK Compute, the U2 of October and War, the Smiths of The Queen Is Dead. But where Parachutes was the clumsy diary of a high-strung kid, A Rush of Blood sounds more like a band with the confidence to test its own limits. Jonny Buckland comes into his own as a guitar hero, while Martin has grown gratifyingly adult in his sobs and growls. He's still got plenty of angst to vent, though, wailing about death ("Amsterdam"), war ("A Rush of Blood to the Head") and lost love (damn near everything).
"God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" is the slinkiest and best thing Coldplay have ever done -- while the acoustic-guitar figure may be a little too transparently based on Roxy Music's "Out of the Blue," the band whips it into a head-spinning trip of aggressively strummed paranoid folk rock. The folkie shuffle "Green Eyes" sounds like hippie Christian singalong time, but it works, while the fantastic piano ballad "The Scientist" is an overt sequel to "Yellow" ("Let's go back to the star") with a cataclysmic falsetto finale that could raise every hair on the back of your neck. Buckland shines in excellent psychedelic rockers such as "A Whisper," "Clocks" and "Daylight." When you're not in the mood, Coldplay are still too mellow: In the soggier songs, such as the unfortunate first single, "In My Place," the choked vocals can make Coldplay sound like nothing more than a trans-Atlantic breed of Counting Crow. But with A Rush of Blood, Coldplay do more than fulfill the promise of "Yellow" -- they surpass everything they've done up to this point, making first-rate guitar rock with some real emotional protein on its bones.
(Posted: Aug 26, 2002)
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The album where Coldplay grow up and how. Here is where they finally embrace the U2 comparisons on areana ready ballads such as the Sceintst and Clocks. A real highlight though is the psychedelic tinged guitars on a Whisper and the Donovon like folkiness of Green Eyes.
Dec 5, 2005 20:53:39
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