Every once in a while I force myself to sit down and listen to something from a group that i'm not a fan of, just to see what comes out in written form. Truth be told, i've been turning my head away from the Coldplay camp ever since I had to hear "Yellow" all those years ago and things have rarely swayed since that point (Although I am a sucker for "Clocks"). Expectedly, the album is a very 'pretty' electronic pop rock affair with minor Radiohead/U2 tendencies in all areas of the musical landscape. As much as I do not want to enjoy the record, there is infact something very welcoming about the sound, almost trying to create a soundscape for the dreamworld in the twilight hours of the day. There is zero aggression in Coldplay's bag of tricks (Unless you count the very few times the group uses distortion with their guitars, heh), which shouldn't surprise anyone, but that doesn't mean that the music is something upbeat and throwaway. Quite the contrary, despite the dreamy aura of some of the music, there's a noticeable layer of despair to most of what is heard, especially in the storytelling done by the group's vocalist. The further into the record you get, the clearer it becomes that every member of the band is quite capable at their respected craft.
This is never something I could listen to on a regular basis (It's just the way my taste goes, i'm afraid), but for what the guys are offering you could definitely do a lot worse in the modern pop rock department... far, far worse. If I have to go really mainstream rock, I would take a band like Madina Lake, but this is surprisingly solid and more interesting than I was expecting it to be. The verses are engaging, the choruses are powerful and the musicianship, as I stated, is good. Even the lead ballad, "Us Against The World", has it's moments, although it's definitely my least favorite of the first 4 tracks on the record. My favorite track on the album probably goes to "Major Minus", with it's insatiable catchiness and actual occasional use of a distorted guitar. I suppose the collaborative efforts of Brian Eno helped a bit, but I don't want to take too much away from the output as a whole. I have way more interest and respect in a group like Coldplay than I do, say... Maroon 5. Putting it up against a lot of the music I regularly listen to in a ranking system just doesn't seem fair, so instead i'm just going to give the album a 6 out of 10 in terms of a pop rock album. It just doesn't seem right to say something like "Yeah, the Coldplay album is alright, but it's no Carcass!" Clearly i've gotten a little soft as I get older, but I guess I just don't care.