Following the snore-fest which was 2015’s A Head Full of Dreams, it seems like Coldplay are returning to the more incisive songwriting of their earlier albums on their latest EP release, Kaleidoscope.
The laid-back beat, reverb-soaked piano and distant guitars on All I Can Think About Is You hark back to the sound of their debut album Parachutes, while Chris Martin sings “Everything is upside down” with a watery effect on his vocals. The song peaks in swirls of Moby-esque strings and a Clocks-like piano line, as the tidal wave of instruments recalls their A Rush of Blood To The Head era.
Miracles (Someone Special) isn’t the first time Coldplay have collaborated with a rapper. Big Sean fits in quite comfortably among the faux strings, funky guitars and rolling electro beat, although the track remains on the same dynamic plane throughout.
Aliens is the true standout here, with fast and scatty drum patterns paving the way for Martin to belt out, “If you want to, that’s all right” with his incomparable soaring tones. With all the complex instrumentation somehow gelling together perfectly, this really is Coldplay at their best.
The Tokyo Remix of Something Just Like This, featuring is really a "live in Tokyo" version, but the recording really captures the energy of the crowd, who are singing along to every word.
Unfortunately, closer Hypnotised finishes the EP on a bit of a low. Even though it builds up to a grandiose ending, the track really labours the twinkly, hotel house band-sounding keyboard motif, and Martin, who’s notorious for lacklustre lyrics, includes some pretty garish rhymes, such as “Running to a faint, need a brand new coat of paint … Thinking about what ain’t, never gonna be a saint”.
Kaleidoscope may not be perfect, but it shows the full spectrum of their sound, and reminds long-time fans why they fell in love with them in the first place.