Prospekt's March (EP)

Coldplay

Parlophone, 2008

http://www.coldplay.com

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/11/2008

Coldplay’s latest, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, is -- for me, at least -- one of this year’s clear-cut triumphs. With Brian Eno at the helm, fantastically fleshed-out arrangements, and less overt cheesiness, the album wasn’t just a standout in comparison to the rest of Coldplay’s catalogue, but was also head-and-shoulders above a good majority of this year’s chart toppers.

Hot on the heels of Viva La Vida comes this handy little EP, an eight-track offering of songs that didn’t make it onto the original album. Nothing here is exactly innovative, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. And when considered as a fourth-quarter money grab or a way to keep attention, Coldplay fans could do a lot worse; there’s only one chopped-down single edit (“Lovers In Japan [Osaka Sun Mix]” and one forty-second instrumental (“Postcards From Far Away”). Overall, it’s far less throwaway than you might imagine, and most of the material here could’ve been slotted nicely onto Viva La Vida, being that everything is in tune with their carefully crafted new formula.

The EP starts out on a high note with “Life In Technicolor II,” which gives flesh and bones to the solely instrumental “Life In Technicolor,” which both opened and closed the album. The production is glossed to a shine and Chris Martin’s vocals soar to stadium heights; the lyrics aren’t as immediate as “Viva La Vida” or “Violet Hill,” but to be perfectly honest, lyrics have never been Coldplay’s forte.nbtc__dv_250

…Which is proven pretty quickly with “Glass Of Water” (which follows the lovely piano interlude of “Postcards From Far Away”). Too often Martin falls into the trap of sounding like a low-grade Bono -- and a late-era Bono, not the brilliant Bono of Joshua Tree or Acting Baby or even All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Lines like “Son, don’t ask / Neither how full nor empty is your glass / Cling to the mast / Spend your whole life living in the past / Going nowhere fast” are exhaustingly trite. Fortunately, the thick ringing guitars pad over most of the vague stabbings at profundity, and do prove at least that Coldplay can sound just as epic when they’ve cranked up the volume.

Midway through, “Rainy Day” is where Prospekt’s March gets most interesting. It’s the most divergent from the Viva La Vida gameplan with funky, electronic verses that give way to a lilting, string-laden chorus -- a weird combo, but it works, and the refrain “I love it when you come over to my house” is a breathless, joyful break from the relative heaviness of most of the album and, in turn, this EP (see “Prospekt’s March/Poppyfields” for a dip back into that edgy, Radiohead-esque darkness).

From there, the disc loses some steam. “Lost+” ropes in avowed Coldplay fan Jay-Z for a verse, but even I’m growing kind of weary of “Lost!” after spinning it on repeat since the summer. Meanwhile, “Lovers In Japan (Osaka Sun Mix)” is a single-edit that boasts only a few instrumental switchups to make it worth your time. Still, closer “Now My Feet Won’t Touch The Ground” is a quick, sweet acoustic ballad that serves as a nice sendoff for the Viva La Vida chapter of the Coldplay catalog.

Coldplay isn’t particularly innovative, but they’re still commendable for recognizing their limits and attempting to stretch and mold to them. They may not be hip, but I still love ‘em to death (and all his friends), and Prospekt’s March is a fairly solid way to tide any Coldplay lover over until they return.

Rating: B

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© 2008 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Parlophone, and is used for informational purposes only.