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Nettwerk Records

As with most British bands in the last few decades, they are broken open and broken down by the hype surrounding them through fan bases or press… Coldplay is no exception to this rule. They have released a stunning debut LP on Canada’s Nettwerk records, which has been the subject of much hullabaloo among fans of other noteworthy Brit-pop bands. That’s how I heard of them… That is what made me listen. I was not wholly disappointed, but neither was I convinced that they lived up to their hype. This is an album lacking in volume and edge, but it more than compensates with mood and melancholia. I recommend listening to this record at any time to even out your mood, and bring you to an even keel. There is no song that will make you feel the need to dance, but neither is itsleepy-time music.

Parachutes opens with "Don’t Panic," a nicely short and mellow ditty. It is a wonderful song that echoes the promise of what is to come on the rest of the record. "Don’t Panic" is filled with excellent guitar tones and a nice grooving back beat, and I love the way the song ends. "Shiver" is a delightfully laid back tune, full of that great guitar sound that I have come to appreciate this band for. This song is filled with enough dynamics to keep it interesting without drowning out the vibe of the song. In "Spies," an obvious Dave Matthews vocal similarity becomes quite evident. No one on the fan reviews warned me of this phenomenon, but it is one that is easily adjusted to and does not overshadow the beauty of the music. The music and writing of this band stands on its own, with or without any parallels being drawn to other bands. "Sparks" is a downbeat number with a slightly jazzy, acoustic feel. It is a nice track, one that begs to be listened to in a dimly lit room, possibly sucking down a vodka martini. I’ll have mine shaken, not stirred. Fans of bands like Adorable will develop a love for songs like "Yellow." It is a familiar song upon the first listen, and becomes better with each successive experience. This is one of my favorites off of this record, and I find myself singing along easily and happily. "Trouble" is a meandering trip, full of achy guitars and melancholy vocals. A bit of piano nicely highlights this tune’s crooning lyrics. "I never meant to cause you trouble. I never meant to cause you harm." "Parachutes" is filled with intricate guitar work and a diminished vocal line. Unfortunately the song only lasts about 45 seconds…which brings us into "High Speed," a song that may be a little higher speed than most of its album mates, but still falls far below pop ideals. There are floating, textural guitars and downbeat drums to carry this nicely written tune. "We Never Change" is a trip into the human psyche and the differences in desires and realities. It is another beautiful slow tune, among many represented here, replete with effected guitars and vibe-alicious drumming. "When I counted up my demons, saw there was one for every day. With the good ones on my shoulder, drove the other ones away." "Everything’s Not Lost" counts up the demons, and deals with them in a satisfying manner. This song sends the message of the entire album as far as I am concerned. It is a melancholy message, but one full of the expression of hope in the possibilities of comfort that a soul can find in this wonderful world.

This record is over before one fully comprehends the meaning of it all. Each song passes like a beautiful ocean liner on a summer day. It is there one minute, and so enjoyable, and then all of a sudden out of sight. It is an experience that leaves you wanting for more. The great thing is there is always one more song, or a repeat button. My favorite general thing about this record is the way that each song ends. Each ending is unexpectedly there and brilliantly executed. I think it adds to the wanting more. This is a beautiful album, and one that I do not recommend missing. Parachutes is a melancholy record overall, and not one suited for parties, unless they are comprised of the aforementioned mood lighting and alcohol. Maybe Mojave 3 without the country influence, maybe the Cocteau Twins without the soaring unintelligible female vocals of Elizabeth Fraser… Either way, Coldplay are great to listen to anytime you need to chill out and be a little bit introspective.

-David DeVoe

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Shiver
  3. Spies
  4. Sparks
  5. Yellow
  6. Trouble
  7. Parachutes
  8. High Speed
  9. We Never Change
  10. Everything’s Not Lost

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