Album review

Coldplay :
A Rush Of Blood To The Head


Coldplay : A Rush Of Blood To The HeadIn my humble opinion, Coldplay's debut Parachutes wiped the floor with everything else in 2000. Just like Moby's Play the year before, it really was head and shoulders above the competition. Five million sales later and the weight of expectation on A Rush Of Blood To The Head is overwhelming. Have Coldplay managed to record a CD that's worthy of its predecessor?

Politik opens up Coldplay's sophomore effort, and the familiar chiming guitar of Yellow support a stronger and more confident sounding Chris Martin vocal. As the single In My Place follows, my initial reaction is that while they've gained confidence, Coldplay have lost some of the fragility that was an integral part of their sound. Maybe I'm too close to this? It certainly couldn't be any other band, and the songs have the hallmarks of being future favourites. I need to hear more . . .
    The Scientist revisits Trouble, and borrows its gentle piano and melancholy vocals. So many Coldplay songs give the impression of a man who has been beaten down as far as he can go, but who still has the weary strength to get back up and try again. The Scientist is no exception.

Clocks is A Rush Of Blood To The Head's first truly great moment. You know when you first realised that Parachutes was a great album, and not just a very good one? Yes. It's that all over again. It's the first track that'll have you attempting to sing along with Chris Martin's worn falsetto in empathy.
    If Clocks is great, Warning Sign is a bloody phenomenon. Easily the CD's high-point, a laboured beat, lightly strummed guitar and tasteful strings draw me into the song's mood without a struggle. When Martin sings "When the truth is, I miss you" I believe. Completely and utterly. A stunning piece of work.
    And there's more. A Whisper is Spiritualized's I Think I'm In Love on speed. Those strings once again, combined with edgy harmonics pull me out of my Warning Sign funk, before the opening of A Rush Of Blood To The Head's title track drags me back down into sombre reflectiveness. Earlier thoughts of lost fragility go out of the window as the closing Amsterdam hammers Coldplay's message home.

So is A Rush Of Blood To The Head a worthy successor the Parachutes? Absolutely. Is it a better disc? I don't know, and at this point I don't care.
    It stands up in it's own right as one of this year's best albums. It's not perfect, but if it was, it just wouldn't be Coldplay. This is one band who operate better with their flaws intact, and long may it stay that way.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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