Coldplay's 'Mylo Xyloto'

Updated: 20 Apr 2012

Time Out says

Rating: 3/5

A week after Coldplay released their world-conquering fourth album, ‘Viva la Vida’ (9 million sold and counting), they received a letter from the record’s co-producer – Brian Eno. It said, ‘Dear Coldplay, I really think we’ve made a good record here. But I do think we can do a lot better.’ Way to piss on their parade Eno! But Coldplay are humble, polite, hard-working guys. They made a mental note: We’ll do better next time.

After a three-year gap, Coldplay return with a quasi-concept album, ‘A love story set in an Orwellian dystopia’. Much of this album delivers just what we’ve come to expect from the quartet: ‘Hurts Like Heaven’, ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Paradise’ are all soul-swelling singalongs with shimmering guitars and (occasional) synth and string embellishments.

But on the sappily titled single ‘Every Tear Is a Waterfall’ and ‘Don’t Let It Break Your Heart’, their relentless bombast is simply exhausting. It’s a relief to hear the pared-down ‘Us Against the World’ and ‘Up in Flames’ which, with its metronome beat, finds lead singer Chris Martin fragile but uplifted. Unsurprisingly, the album’s greatest departure is the stuttered, R&Bleaning, Rihanna-featuring track, ‘Princess of China’; the pop sheen and confident stride suits them. So: Dear Coldplay, I think you’ve made a good record here. You are great songwriters and your shows are unifying, rousing events; but not every song needs a raft of codanthemic ‘oooh-oohs’. You can sound just as powerful when you dial it down a bit. Kim Taylor Bennett