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Sunday 24 September 2017

Making a perfectly bland and Coldplay-lite world

Kodaline
Kodaline
John Meagher

John Meagher

Album Review: Kodaline In a Perfect World (Sony) 2 STARS

Serious money has been spent on this young Dublin fourpiece. Just look at the high production values of the videos and consider the fact that they have been relocated to Birmingham so as to capitalise on the UK market.

Hard cash has been thrown at this album too – the lavish production and opulent arrangements are redolent of the Coldplays of this world.

And it's Chris Martin's band that Kodaline resemble most. As a songwriter, Stephen Garrigan wears his heart on his sleeve. At every opportunity, he wrings epic emotions from the most mundane of sentiments.

He also has a knack for writing super-catchy melodies, a gift that was evident when, as a 17-year-old contestant on You're A Star, his then band, 21 Demands, scored an Irish number one with an original song.

And that talent is particularly apparent on the singles High Hopes and All I Want as well as at least half a dozen more songs here, including the folk-inflected Love Like This.

While such tracks appear carefully honed to appeal to the masses, there is something terribly homogenised about them.

It's as if the producer – sometime U2 mixer and Dave Matthews collaborator Steve Harris – was tasked with accentuating a Coldplay-Keane-Snow Patrol hybridised sound.

The over-produced results have done little more than sap the band of their own identity.

That said, their cause isn't helped by the fact that Garrigan is a dispiritingly prosaic lyricist and the band's preference for melodrama gets very wearying.

KEY TRACKS High Hopes

Irish Independent

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