Coldplay, Keys and new crooner Sam all deliver

by Gazette Reporter

It’s that time of year, summer is in the air and there seems to be an unprecedented deluge of new albums from major acts. We’ve been blessed by an unprecedented deluge of quality in those albums hitting the streets these weeks.
The runaway biggest attention grabber is the sixth album by the globe-straddling colossus that is Coldplay, and Ghost Stories proves to be possibly their best record yet for its utter un-Coldplayness.
Everything is turned down, emotionally and sonically, as the band work through a series of reflective break-up songs that have everything to do with the end of a relationship and little to do with the stadium platitudes that they have been producing in recent years.
The closest to that they come to that is the Avicii produced A Sky Full Of Stars, but even there, the potential bombast that might have made it a close relation to Every Teardrop is reigned in, making it more appealing as a result.
It’s a conscious uncoupling from their past and sets Coldplay up for the next phase of their career. A retread of Mylo Xyloto would have pitched them into U2-level pomposity, but Ghost Stories is a rewarding repeat listening experience.
An act who has the potential to come close to Coldplay level success in the future releases his debut this week, and it is a great relief to say that Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour is as good as the initial promise suggested by his breakout vocal on Disclosure’s Latch.
Smith’s unique soulful soaring range is given wings on the tracks on offer here, Money On My Mind closest to the dance roots of his success, Stay With Me, Lay By Your Side and Leave Your Lover among the stand-outs.
With a voice like this and jaw-dropping appearances like his recent stint on Saturday Night Live, Smith has the potential to be Adele-level successful. Seriously, he’s that good.
Another act making a return to the stage is The Black Keys, back in the game with the follow-up to their excellent El Camino, Turn Blue.
Created alongside Danger Mouse, and having the same widescreen feel as Mouse’s epic Rome album created alongside Daniele Luppi, it opens with a Pink Floyd-esque flourish in Weight Of Love, and proceeds to step away from El Camino’s catchy riffs and speedy blues and closer toward looser, more progressive grooves, as hypnotic and immersive as the record’s distinctive cover art.

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