Yesterday one of, arguably, the biggest bands on the planet, Coldplay released a five track long EP named ‘Kaleidoscope’ and it’s been said by many already that it more closely resembles their earlier work. Why is this a marketing tool? Well, like a lot of bands nowadays, Coldplay came hot out of the gates in the year 2000 with their debut album ‘Parachutes’ and maintained their sound and fan base through their sophomore effort ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ before settling into a more commercially palatable and middle of the road pop sound, drifting between heart wrenching household anthems like ‘Fix You’ and stadium rock bangers like those featured on later album ‘X&Y’. With this foray into the mainstream and a departure from their more acoustic, down tempo sound, they were heralded as one of the least cool bands around and shunned by many credible music fans. Now of course, you don’t continue to become one of the worlds most well known and successful bands without maintaining a large fan base and appealing to someone at least, and that’s exactly what they’ve continued to do. Their headline slot at the 2016 Glastonbury festival may have even drew in a few naysayers as they nailed a perfect set, featuring tributes to the tragedy of indie up and comers Viola Beach, a guest appearance by Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees, and then even a vocal lead by festival creator Michael Eavis. This certainly stopped me in my tracks and made me reconsider their standing on my credibility and I’ll only imagine it did the same for many others.
Anyway, back to the point, this brand new EP dropped yesterday on the 13th of July and features five tracks of a very different sound. Now, I completely disagree with the “back to their beginnings” sentiment. As a fan of their earliest works, I was waiting for this claim to ring true and it doesn’t. It’s certainly a little more down tempo, concentrating on the individual listener basis and not compiling a set of arena tracks that’ll sound great against neon lights and such. It has a more sci-fi twist to it, it’s almost as psych as they’ve ever gone and all done under a slick and steady format. The inclusion of ‘Something Just Like This’ which was released earlier this year and features The Chainsmokers, begin to make more sense and sound great when thrown amongst the other four tracks. It’s not a rarity at all to see bands and artists feature or collaborate with other artists and it almost seems like musical name dropping now, and this seemed to be no different upon its release but now, as I said, in context with the rest of the EP it sounds great and if you can push aside that it features a dance act, the synths and sounds that are immediately not Coldplay-esque seem to work so well.
The only comparison with early material I can make comes on ‘All I Can Think About Is You’ as this dreamy and minimalist number does transport you back to the early 2000’s and certainly the ‘Parachutes’ sound. This is definitely a favourite of ours since Coldplay began. I am surprised that with this much material, why such a massive name would go for releasing an EP instead of holding back for a while and filling a brand new LP, perhaps for release later in the year or next year. Maybe that’s what they’re doing? Who knows. Anyway, Coldplay have my attention with this new material and it’s a great listen. Easy, short, works at home instead of being too grand and over the top. Well done to Chris Martin and the rest of Coldplay, it sounds brilliant and serves as a great surprise for all of us, fans or not.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)