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Music review

Coldplay parachutes into America

Review: Coldplay parachutes into America

Coldplay
Parachutes
(Nettwerk America)

(CNN) -- There should always be a band like Coldplay.

You know the type: a band that isn't trying to be trend-setting, yet sounds fresh; that is reminiscent of many things, while not blatantly imitating any one group; a band that isn't afraid to be big and simple, melodic and elegant.

The pop-music landscape is littered with bands that tried to occupy such an artistic niche, but fell short. Coldplay, a London-based quartet, finds that enviable spot and refuses to vacate it throughout "Parachutes," its American debut.

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The band -- singer/pianist/guitarist Chris Martin, bassist Guy Berryman, guitarist Jonny Buckland and drummer Will Champion -- push and pull between the aural atmospherics of Radiohead ("Spies"), the pop accessibility of Duncan Sheik ("High Speed"), the vocal range and stylings of Jeff Buckley ("Shiver") and even the slightly off-kilter pop approach of Australian Ben Lee ("Don't Panic"). While Martin's vocals shift effortlessly between melodics and emotional falsetto, Buckland, Berryman and Champion offer an intricate and unobtrusive ambience.

Martin turns to upbeat and positive ideas that never broach the saccharine. "We live in a beautiful world," he sings during the chorus of "Don't Panic," the album's opening tune; he manages to make those words sound more reassuring than PoPollyannaishAnd when he sings, "Look at the stars/Look how they shine for you," in "Yellow," Martin makes it sound like one of the most simple love notes imaginable.

"Yellow" made the band a household name in the United Kingdom and is their lead single here. If the song survives pop culture's recent bout of attention deficit disorder, it has the ability to become the high school love song of next summer.

That's not to say "Parachutes" is merely a juvenile spin. Indeed, as pop-laced as the songs sound, there is a subtle jazz element to Berryman's bass playing and Champion's drum works. Perhaps that's what makes Coldplay a bit more interesting than any of their Brit-pop predecessors. Or maybe it's just because the band doesn't seem to try to emote beyond its experience.



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