INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Inpress NOVEMBER 2, 2011 - by Tyler McLoughlan
COLDPLAY: MYLO XYLOTO
Following the pomp and grandeur of previous record Viva La Vida, Coldplay's fifth studio album opens with a dreamy, xylophone-laced, forty-three second title track that feels like an inappropriately placed postscript, until it collides with Hurts Like Heaven, a ripping, quick-step mingle of intricate keys, snare smacks and The Edge-styled guitar licks in which Chris Martin sounds like he's grinning; perhaps it's the slight protest angle which has him "armed with the spray can soul" as the first point of reference to the album's graffiti-styled artwork.
It's a WTF moment when Rihanna pops up on Princess Of China to trade lyrical clichés with Martin: "I could have been a princess, you'd be a king" - really? No doubt it will still become a commercial radio hit, though the electro stomp is intriguing because of the guidance of Sigur Rós's Takk sample that introduces an undercurrent of Nordic tension.
Along with the graffiti there is also talk of two protagonists Mylo and Xyloto who fall in love in the midst of a dystopian society. It's heavy stuff, though the former influence is the most obvious - hell, Mylo Xyloto is Coldplay's fourteen-track graffiti project. A couple of vibrant signature pieces prove highlights (notably the double piano/guitar riff routine of Charlie Brown, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-like tension of Major Minus), while samples, guests (including Howling Bells' Juanita Stein), atmospheric interludes and 'Enoxification' from Brian Eno run a thread between them. It's a great idea in theory, though the risk is that you wind up with a whole wall of stuff to look at with no clear reference points for context.
Mylo Xyloto is full of Coldplay's trademark ambition, covering a spectrum of sound from unadorned keys and quirky synth, to out-and-out rock and frenzied electronica, though it's quite a baffling listen in terms of sonic juxtaposition. Still, it's by no means a dull listen.