Coldplay

Record Review

Phases and Stages

Coldplay

A Rush of Blood to the Head (Capitol)

Musically, Coldplay are comfort food: easily digestible, not at all spicy (but not necessarily bland), probably a little fattening. The macaroni and cheese of rock bands. The Londoners' 2000 debut Parachutes was an island of hand-knitted warmth in a sea of manufactured self-loathing and aggression, and sophomore swoon A Rush of Blood to the Head ups the soft-blanket-on-a-cold-day quotient considerably. Singer Chris Martin, still the scourge of boyfriends everywhere, is ever the sensitive, considerate lad, and a deuce of a songwriter to boot. The chiming "In My Place" is like a giant hand wiping the sweat from your fevered brow, while "The Scientist" ponders man's powerlessness in the face of love much the same way their breakthrough "Yellow" did. The countryish "Green Eyes" may be the best song about a girl's peepers since the Old 97s' "Big Brown Eyes." Meanwhile, "Clocks," "A Whisper," and the wry "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" pulse quicker than anything off Parachutes save maybe "Shiver;" credit guitarist Jon Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and (especially) drummer Will Champion for refusing to allow Martin to be swept away by his own rhetorical flourishes. A droning, Indian-style violin lends "Daylight" a nice "Tomorrow Never Knows" feel, but let's not kid around: If you're presently in love, A Rush of Blood ... will make you want to frolic like Lily Tomlin with the cartoon animals in 9 to 5. Otherwise, it'll probably make you want to puke.

*** .5

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