In the four years since the release of Coldplays last album, the relentlessly upbeat A Head Full of Dreams, the world has become a more divided place. That sense of unease permeates the bands eighth set Trouble in Town pontificating on racial politics in the US, even if the chilling sample of police harassment that anchors the powerful second half of the song actually dates from 2013. The excruciating Guns is rather less sure-footed, as Chris Martin never Bob Dylan when its come to writing lyrics, in fact barely Noel Gallagher makes a clumsy pass at satire (Who needs education, or a thousand splendid suns/ Poor is good for business, cut the forests, theyre so dumb), swears gratuitously and probably sets the liberal cause back decades.
Its not all geopolitical angst: recent single Arabesque is as good as anything theyve done in the last 10 years, with French lyrics and echoes of the intensity of Primal Screams If They Move Kill Em refracted through a skronking jazz filter. But theyre rather less engaging when they hit the stadium preset buttons, whether its appropriating gospel sounds in the style of late-80s U2 (BrokEn), churning out mawkish balladry (Daddy) or mistaking empty bombast for euphoria (Champion of the World).
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