[HOT TRACK]Britpop band hits ground running with 2d albumContrition is not something you expect the frontman of a successful modern rock band to display onstage. But Chris Martin, the lead vocalist of the London-based band Coldplay, is given to such self-abasements as: "We are not such big stars, in fact," or "Please understand this song even if you don't like it."
If success is something to be guilty about, Martin has a lot of apologizing to do. Since Coldplay's recent rise from London's independent rock scene, the band has garnered popularity and critical acclaim. Its full-length album debut, 2000's "Parachutes," sold more than 5 million copies and won the Grammy for best alternative music album. Now the band is back, with "A Rush of Blood to the Head."
While the group may have been a bit surprised by its sudden success, it had good reason to be. Its four members met in a college dorm in 1996 and casually formed up. The drummer, Will Champion, did not even know how to play the drums at the time -- though he was a fine guitarist. From their initial sessions, the four generated a melancholy and delicate sound that would eventually become the magic spell Coldplay cast on the modern music scene -- a sound still evident on the new album.
"A Rush" opens with "Politik," with lyrics inspired by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a day the band was supposed to fly to the United States. Despite the profound meaning, though, the song is flat and tedious. "In My Place," which was passed over for the debut album, makes up for the dull opener with a simple but impressive guitar melody to soft but fine vocals. The melody grows more exquisite on "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face," with dreamy guitars and vocals, and peaks on the fourth track, "The Scientist." The song, with its lucid and sensitive melody, shows how rock can best hit subtle and doleful chords. Martin delivers the vocals as if on the verge of bursting into tears.
A few drab tracks later, the band takes an unlikely departure into acoustic country mode in "Green Eyes." "Warning Sign" harks back to "The Scientist" for being plaintive yet powerful, while "A Whisper" is notable for its rupturing guitars.
While the latest album is not as striking as "Parachutes," it still holds up -- which means that Martin might have to keep on saying he's sorry.
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