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    Mylo Xyloto review 15: Princess Of China album's strongest moment (The Maneater student newspaper)

    myloxylotoalbum2_1.pngIn continuation of our features involving less mainstream reviews of Coldplay's new album Mylo Xyloto, our next one comes from The Maneater, the official student newspaper of the University of Missouri. A short but succinct review that captures the feeling that tweaks to Coldplay's sound is more than good enough at this stage of their career. Oh and they love the collaboration with Rihanna too. They give the album overall a solid 3/5 stars. Read on for their review...


    For some, Coldplay’s continued popularity is inexplicable, but for many, it is totally understandable. The band takes a very broad Britpop base (vast production, big sound, stadium-filling ambition) and tempers it with a refreshing sense of balance and sweetness, never taking enough of an angle to be polarizing. Always revolving around the complementing sounds of Chris Martin’s earnest falsettos and piano with Jonny Buckland’s chiming, understated guitar work, the band’s sonic imprint is always at least an impeccable piece of craftsmanship.


    Ambitious but never bold, the group finds a unique balance of sound and purpose that rarely comes off as preachy (U2), overtly artsy (Radiohead) or theatrical (Muse). All those bands are infinitely more original and engaging, but Coldplay proves a middle-of-the-road approach can’t be hindered by an ability to crowd-please and continually tweak its sound.

    The band's repeated employment of legendary producer Brian Eno proves as much. Known for taking stadium-filling groups and pushing their limits in the studio (Talking Head’s Remain In Light, U2’s Achtung Baby), Eno doesn’t quite achieve that effect on their latest, Mylo Xyloto. His blend of industrialism and bold rock elements has worked better elsewhere (David Bowie’s Heroes). But as on 2008’s blockbuster Viva La Vida, he creates a nice dimensional quality to the arrangements. The propulsive, disembodied acoustic guitar on “Charlie Brown” pushes without shoving the sound, and the muted, almost damp backing on “Up In Flames” brings some understated beauty to the track.


    The foursome is dependable as always on more conventional tracks like “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” and “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart,” but when Eno pushes (even slightly) outside the comfort zone, the results are surprisingly impressive. “Hurts Like Heaven” is a workout of Postal Service-style beats, and “Princess of China” is a suitable showcase for guest vocalist Rihanna — her clean vocals running against the crackling guitar and synth background make for an attesting dance-rock hybrid that’s perhaps the albums strongest moment.


    Of course, the band’s commitment to populism limits these moments, making the resulting big ballads like “Us Against the World” and “U.F.O.” vaguely pretty but bland, and the supposed concept of two lovers in a future society never quite gets off the ground. However, almost everything else on Mylo Xyloto works well, and one can’t help but imagine how some of these songs could completely fill the large venue spaces Coldplay commands so well.


    That the band has the capacity to surprise and engage at this career stage when it's commercially unnecessary is proof enough that Mylo Xyloto is a worthy addition to the Coldplay catalogue and that good rock stars are better than none. [Article ends]


    Kit yourself up for the forthcoming MX tour and get spotted with Coldplaying's new range of merchandise! [click on the items for the full shop]


    cpingshopdesigns1.png cpingshopdesigns2.png cpingshopdesigns3.png cpingshopdesigns4.png cpingshopdesigns5.png


    The new range of Coldplaying merchanise (unofficial of course to the official shop) has hit our stores, with our biggest range of goods so far. Prices are as low as they can be for a Cafepress shop so more people will be able to afford them. We don't take any profits for the sale of the merchandise as a result. Take a browse in one of the online stores nearest to you: UK | US | Canada | Australia | European (shipping is worldwide, but you can choose what currency to pay in) - simply alter the country dropdown menu at the top of the shop page. [thanks to TracieMorgan and zzz]


    Coldplay, Guy Garvey (Elbow) and Lady Gaga all in the same photo from Children In Need Rocks Manchester, MEN Arena (17th November 2011):



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