label: Parlophone / Nettwerk America
our score: 4.5 out of 5.0
Here's Got Somebody to Lean On
Once in a
while, that incredible album comes out and you can't exactly put
a finger on exactly what it is that makes this so memorable. The
songs are written so well with such musicality that you swear
that you've had to have heard each one of them at some time in
your life, (if not in some other life). An album where extraneous
noise is forgotten and replaced with well-placed, simple instrumentation
that sings its own verses with the lyrics. An album that even
though you may listen to it too often to bear to give it one more
play, you know that someday you will pick it up again and its
beautiful chords within will sound as sweet the next time. This
is one of those albums.
Let me begin by minding all of you that a fan of Rage Against
the Machine's latest effort or a proponent of naming Nine Inch
Nails' most recent recording may consider this album to suffer
from a bend of monotony of pace and chord usage. But on the other
hand, some of the subtle beauty lying within this recording is
exploration of sound that Coldplay finds within the confines of
tempo and vocal tones chosen.
With the exception
of the brave contrast that "Shiver" makes in comparison
to the remainder of the album, the instrumentation lives off of
folk guitars with an occasional plugged-in pedal, simple percussion
rhythms, haunting piano tones and small bits of chamber strings.
Without venturing into the brashness of an Oasis or the lack of
seriousness lended to themselves by Blur, the album still is distinctly
British. Lyrically, the words are distinctly chosen like that
of a somber Charlatans recording, yet with a touch of somewhere
between lostness and sarcasm normally associated with the Smiths
The album begins with a brush-sticked acoustic drum and bass rhythm
followed by near-haunting guitars and lyrics, but yet the track
is titled "Don't Panic." Subtle, yet paced, the song
is an excellent sign of things to come. "Spies" jumps
back and forth between acoustics to tom drums and eletrics which
matches the near-paranoia tone of the lyrics. "Sparks"
is filled with endearing sincerity for one held close only imagined
by most pop artists in today's music scene.
And you know
that every British album that makes it to the states has one radio-friendly
pop song that doesn't get old. Just listen to "Yellow."
You may laugh from the cheeky sappiness the first time, but believe
me, you'll play it again. Excellently placed piano work makes
the lyrics of "Trouble" quite profound before the album
turns to a place a bit darker. A ray of sunlight is seen at the
end when "Everything's Not Lost" assures you that everything
will be all right with the exception of the hanging guitar line
that doesn't allow you to completely be sure.
Everything said, it garners my vote as one of the top albums of
the year and I can only wait for the next release of a British
artist featuring a catch pop release wrapped up in an incredible
8. High Speed
9. We Never Change
11. Careful Where You Stand (hidden track)