Sounds Like Heaven (Godfather Records G.R. 663)
(79:33) Hurts Like Heaven / Yellow / In My Place / Major Minus / Lost! – Singing In The Rain / Cemeteries Of London / God Put A Smile Upon Your Face / Violet Hill / The Scientist / Us Against The World / Politik / Viva La Vida / Charlie Brown / Life Is For Living / Clocks / Fix You / Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall.
Twelve years after the creation of the band, Coldplay seem to have captured the worlds hearts & imagination but can be almost as easily typed as the most famous band in the world that no one can remember the name of any of the ‘other’ band members ( Apart from the erstwhile “Nice Man of Rock” Chris Martin who runs a close second to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters for the title. )
Indeed around 2005 it would seem that the British charts at least were awash with Coldplay’s signature sound while several lesser known bands aped the glossy soft rock, arena filling gusto that the band made their own. To be fair to the band it is a winning quality – While the chaps at the back ( Guitarist Jonny Buckland, Bassist Guy Berryman & Drummer Will Champion ) put in a lot of power to the band it would be a different kettle of fish without Chris’ self deprecating chutzpa. Today’s gig at Rock Am Ring in Nürburgring, Germany is a chance to air some of the newer tracks from their forthcoming album, the, as yet untitled, follow up to the 2008 album “Viva La Vida” & to keep the connection between them & their fans fresh or pick up where they had left off.
The Godfather has chosen an extremely good broadcast recording of the show for this release – Not so much a soundboard but clear enough that everything can be heard for a fuller experience of the gig. This set of shows on the festival circuit was conducted to reveal a clutch of new songs from their new album & to road test them for the audiences.
Tonight we’re treated to 5 out of a possible 6 that have been touted around ( “Princess of China” is the only song not performed tonight ) To the accompaniment of various fireworks the band have decided to begin with a new track ( “Hurts Like Heaven” ) from the unreleased album – This breakneck paced song has the imprint of the Coldplay from their older albums but the quick pace of the track is ideal for a reintroduction & a call of another reinvention of the band. It may sound close to a certain Arcade Fire track of the past few years but rock is still changing at an all consuming pace & plagiarism, abet of a very loose kind, is something that Coldplay have prior knowledge of & obviously no intention to return to.
The two following tracks are the obvious crowd pleasers “Yellow” – the single that brought them to prominent fame from the ‘Parachutes’ album & “In My Place” from the second, post “bedwetting” ( According at Alan McGee, Oasis’ former manager ) album ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’. “Yellow” is played, as live standards go, at a faster pace as to that on the album but this is keeping in momentum with the opening track, “In My Place” is around the same but is heartening to hear the crowd quietly sing along to each & every word of the songs even finishing off lines when Chris drops words out from the lyrics.
Before the next new track – “Major Minus” Chris defiantly holds out his Britishness by apologizing for the bad weather & then for his poor German – Something that you might not hear Bono saying between songs at their own brand of Über-gigs – “Major Minus” isn’t the album track or crowning glory that will push the new album & instead sounds like a long, lost 1980’s U2 b-side. Not without its charms but not the strongest song in their canon either. A Viva La Vida section follows with the commencement of “Lost!” & “Cemeteries Of London” – “Cemeteries” is preceded by a short version of ‘Singing In The Rain’ from the musical or film of the same name. The chords are used sporadically throughout so rather than a jokey filler it is actually a well thought out piece.
“God Put A Smile On Your Face” is given a facelift for it’s first half by being changed in to a spacious ballad while Chris is accompanied on guitar only – The melody falters a little while the new tune is set to the lyrics but come the chugging rage of the second half’s build up things begin to solidify & take shame to become the fully-formed tub-thumping rocker. As the hits continue to roll “The Scientist” is the call to the swaying lovers in the crowd. Another milestone in Coldplay’s early career.
“Us Against The World”, another new song, is a slow, acoustic mid album slow burner – A song, one assumes, to Chris’ wife Gwyneth or a song for swinging couples to have & claim as their own. It’s one of the kind that the band do best & it will very probably do very well when played out live in future. As the final chords are set to repeat, Chris walks over to the piano & sets himself up for one of tonight’s noisy highlights – “Politik” has been been given short shift for its teenage pandering lyrics but no one can discard the ballast of the piano slammed, shattering notes of the all consuming chorus – the lyrics that annoy also feed the lyrics that paint CGI images in the mind too – “Wounds that heal and cracks that fix” are brilliant, picture painting words that fill the mind with delicious, cartoon qualities.
It is followed by the brilliantly pantomimish “Viva La Vida” – The hollering clarion call that eats up the crowd is like a modern “Hey Jude” or “Satisfaction” and is genuinely quite moving especially as the crowd pick up the motif & carry it along after the track has finished. The next new track “Charlie Brown” is sadly not a Vince Guaraldi homage but a whirling, bombastic new song. The lyrics might still be of the sappy side but on the whole the song bullets out to being rather exciting with a memorable guitar line stringing it’s way through.
The main section of the set ends with the “hidden” track from ‘Parachutes’, “Life Is For Living” – A song that seems to be less mysterious than it’s hidden status by the amount of times it has been played in concert. As the song ends and the band leave the stage the audience make their feelings known by approvingly harmonizing the chorus to “Viva La Vida” The encores include splendid renditions of the ‘Rush Of Blood To The Head’ & ‘X&Y’ tracks “Clocks” & Fix You” respectively, effectively sealing the bands live set as one to see out of the list of arena filling bands who are touring the festivals this year.
The final track is the first single from the new album & Coldplay’s first release since the festive single “Christmas Lights” in 2010. It isn’t the classic single that we expected them to return with but it is rousing enough to establish the bands return to the scene again.
The CD is presented in the usual Godfather style within a trifold sleeve that uses a lot of colourful press & live shots of the band. The recording itself is a very impressive document of a band who could be on the cusp of their second wave of greatness.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)