Monday 5 December 2016

Coldplay 'A Head Full of Dreams' review: Coldplay put a pep in their step, but nothing too wild

Album reviews: Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams, The Vamps: Wake Up, The Blades: Smalltime, Hometown: Hometown, Soulsavers: Kubrick

Eamon Carr

Published 04/12/2015 | 14:01

Coldplay - A Head Full of Dreams
Coldplay - A Head Full of Dreams

Eamon Carr reviews this week's big album releases - Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams (Parlophone), The Vamps: Wake Up (Virgin/EMI), The Blades: Smalltime (Reekus), Hometown: Hometown (Sony), Soulsavers: Kubrick (San Quentin)

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Coldplay — A Head Full of Dreams (4*)

(Parlophone)

Coldplay remind me of those afternoon reality TV shows where a team of wannabe designers and carpenters rock up to some poor sod’s house while the owner’s away and change everything.

I admit, there are times when I take a break from translating the works of Catullus and stare transfixed at the telly as the busy bees cut loose with the fresh paint, a roll of stripy wallpaper, some garish cushions and a lava lamp. And that’s just in a rickety auld gazebo where the smelly bins used to be.

Yes. The makeover has long been the new black. And Chris Martin is nothing if not hip to the zeitgeist. Okay, the shadow of the Chris‘n’Gwennie break-up hung over Ghost Stories. But the decorators have been in since then. And, just in time for the party season, they’ve hung a glitter ball in the kitchen.

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Beyonce, Noel Gallagher and Tove Lo are among the guests on this set. No need for Bootsy Collins when Guy Berryman can thumb-up a riff as funky as the one on Adventure of a Lifetime, an irrepressible groove that’s sure to fill floors in the months ahead.

By comparison, Hymn for the Weekend, featuring a Beyonce cameo, is a bit limp. Although, while unmistakably Coldplay, Avicii’s programming adds a generic EDM sheen. They introduce a neat hip-hop coda undertow to Army of One.

Mind you, they haven’t turned into complete mad things. Both Everglow and Amazing Day are traditional epic Coldplay ballads, all woozy and comforting, even if lyrically mundane.

Sadly, even the addition of Merry Clayton, the woman who sang with Jagger on Gimme Shelter, can’t turn the loping Up & Up into something as intoxicating as a Primal Scream rave.

The Vamps — Wake Up

(Virgin/EMI)

Polished 80s-sounding pop-rock, which induces a debilitating sense of ennui. Lightweight.

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The Blades — Smalltime

(Reekus)

This welcome new EP from the Dublin favourites, that includes a song inspired by the late George Byrne, is sure to feature in their must-see Olympia show tomorrow night.

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Hometown — Hometown

(Sony)

The star-maker machinery has been in operation for two years, perfecting a pleasant collection that will appeal to its target audience while not frightening the horses.

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Soulsavers — Kubrick

(San Quentin)

Angels & Ghosts, with Dave Gahan, was released in October. Now, inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s movies, these instrumentals are suitably atmospheric.

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