Words: Elaine Buckley
Coldplay never cease to inspire debate - one of those spilt down the middle love-'em-or-hate-'em kind of acts, their die-hard fans are obsessive whilst their opposers tend to be outright and cynically dismissive. Now into their second decade, Chris Martin & Co. return with their fifth studio album, the curiously titled Mylo Xyloto. Continuing along the path pioneered by predecessor Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, this is Coldplay 2.0 - daring and experimental, yet continually embracing all of the original elements which have established them as one of the biggest bands on the planet.
Mylo Xyloto has been billed as an electro-pop concept album - but the convoluted narrative undertones of boy-meets-girl-in-troubled-society which Martin spoke of in the run up to its release take a backseat to the quality of the music. Lead single Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall is well versed at this stage, released back in June and a highlight of the band's summer festival setlist - but it's still as vibrant as ever, rejuvenated by an extended instrumental teaser ('M.M.I.X'). Subsequent single Paradise too is a highlight, its meandering intro calling on strings for reinforcements before breaking into a synth & keyboard-heavy delight. 'Hurts Like Heaven' is a brilliant high energy affair; and 'Charlie Brown' has the kind of emphatic piano-driven melody that Coldplay could practically trademark at this stage before throwing up a nice surprise at the end as it fades into a gentle outro to segway into 'Us Against The World'. The track offers the first glimpse of the more tender side of Coldplay on Mylo Xyloto - Martin's vocals are sublime as he favours the depths of his range, backed by acoustic guitar and delicate harmonies which gradually building towards a rich instrumental portion towards the end of the track. Up In Flames is in same vein, a piano ballad which flows beautifully with the song's rich melody allowing his falsetto to soar. One of the main talking points in the run-up to the release of Mylo Xyloto has been the duet with Rihanna on 'Princess of China'. One of the biggest bands on the planet joining forces with a pop megastar - what could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot actually… But surprisingly, Coldplay take on R&B and come out unscathed - lyrically, it's not much to get excited about, but it's certainly a catchy tune and the added star quality of Ms. Fenty will ensure it makes its mark.
Of course it wouldn't by a Coldplay release without a baying mob of detractors willing and ready to shoot it down - but really, the slating is irrelevant to the impact the album will have. Mylo Xyloto will delight the gargantuan Coldplay fan-base, sell millions, dominate radio airwaves, and make for quite the spectacle when taken on tour in the coming months. Haters gonna hate - but listen to Mylo Xyloto with an open mind, and what you'll find is a dam fine album jam-packed with stadium rocking anthems in the making.