Music Review


Coldplay released their sixth studio album, “Ghost Stories” after pre-release promotional hit singles; “Midnight”, “Magic” and “A Sky Full of Stars”, via Altantic Records on 19th May, 2014.

Co-produced by the band with Paul Epworth along with Mylo Xyloto fame producers, Daniel Green and Rik Simpson, the album is almost a concept record that revolves around the idea of one’s past haunting one’s present and future and linking it to the media-hyped “consciously-uncoupled” Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The album starts with distinctly muted variations and Coldplay’s patented Guy Berryman-Jonny Buckland mesh of echoing guitar with “Always in my head”. The beat of melancholy hit the strings of your heart when Chris breaks the sonic background with his soft lyrics, “I think of you, I haven’t slept” and bam! You know this is going to be the break-up album of the season.

You jump to “Magic” with an abrupt ending, and suddenly you begin to hear beats of drums warmly mixed with gentle guitar and weightless piano drifts. With that you sink into “Ink”, a not so cheerful track with soft beats, flawless keyboard and piano swirls. With deep lyrics, “All I know is that I love you so, so much it hurts”, the song moves in a flow towards emptiness of losing the spark where he tries to hold on to what is lost, so much; it hurts.

With Timbaland on board, “True Love” is a doleful song where Chris pours his heart out by saying, “Tell me you love me, if don’t then lie to me” with Will Champion’s soft-drum intervals while symbolizing his failing marriage. The song comes across as a perfect attempt to delineate the slithering pain of piercing heartbreak by coming to terms with all that is lost while telling a tale of lonely love holding on a thin string of hope.

“Midnight” comes as a chilly shocker with clicking piano, shifting bass pad, and no immediate center to the lyrics. The not-so Coldplay song has some excellent electro cues courtesy, “The Fourth State II” by Jon Hopkins and undeniable “robo-teched” voice of Martin throwing light on the of the darkness of pain.

“Another’s Arms” breaks with synth guided minor key melancholia with sweet chorus and lyrics portraying bonafide couple habits with “Late night watching Tv/Used to be here beside me/Used to be your arms around me/Your body on my body”. The song also incorporates a vocal sample from “Silver Cord” by Jane Weaver, which adds true love to the pain and an unsaturated optimistic wave to hold on to the broken pieces giving an accurate depiction of misery.

“Oceans” is the album’s acoustic track with guitar strings of sorrow and pain of rejection. Chris through this track comes in terms with his genuine “Ghost Stories” of rejection and the lonesome path ahead.

He ends the track by consoling his broken heart with reassuring lyrics, “Got to find yourself in this world”.

“A Sky Full of Star” marks the band’s first raving dance track outlined with EDM influences, emerging an energetic, heartfelt piano ballad in perfect composition with pounding electronics. It gives the album a different twist and shows that everything is not about Chris and Gwyneth. However, the lyrics seem to declare Chris’s undying love, where he doesn’t seem to care “if she tears him apart”. Irrelevant of the lyrics, the song brings pumps to the album making a happy drive back home (on the highway of life.)

“O” concludes the album on a positive note with them typical Coldplay soothing piano ballads hoping that “maybe one day I’ll fly with you”. The song ends the album as a perfect consoling track showing light in the end of the dark tunnel of rejection and hurt. Chris’s heartfelt lyrics, ask you to “Fly on” more like asking you to “Carry on” while solacing from heartache. It puts an end to the emotional treadmill with commiserating melody oozing compassionate optimism.

Ghost Stories emerges a transitional album, full of sonic details, sad girl echoes and beats of ‘Magic’ and ‘Ink’. The deep lyrics, echoing guitars, sudden electronics and the same old acoustic piano ballads bring out the usual and the unusual Coldplay in 9 tracks and 43 minutes.

Amidst all, the album stays committed to the sentiment of dying love while battling with ghosts of broken relationships with sanguine lyrics asking Chris, “And if you were to ask me/After all that we have been through/Still believe in magic? He replies by resisting the ghosts of his past with, “Ofcourse, I do!”

TRIVIA: Apple and Moses Martin appear as guest vocalists on the final track O! Getting their first vocal break on their parents break-up album, maybe isn’t a very good idea?

The album cover for Ghost Stories is etched by Czech artist Mile Furstove, featuring a pair of angel wings imposed onto a painting of an ocean under a sky at night. The images include a couple in love, a man facing a mission, a flight of white doves, amongst other imagery depicted in the artwork.

You are always elated, when you stumble upon some new music. An Independent  band with an experimental sound that puts a smile on your face and makes your head bang without getting a notion of your own actions.  Five8, a Funk Rock/ Groove Rock/ Ambient Rock and Progressive Rock band from Delhi has just released their debut full length album named  ‘Our Imaginarium’.

Five8 have been together for many years and have performed at various clubs in New Delhi. This experience has been transferred to their songs which is pretty much audible. Right from the groovy bass,ambient guitar and keyboard tones, ghost notes on the drums, to the vocal harmonies, this album takes you to a trance like state. Each and every song is unique yet they maintain a certain ambient decorum throughout the album.

They have also collaborated with musicians like guitarist Aditya Balani and saxophonist Abhay Sharma on songs named “Broke” and “Ballad to the City” respectively in this album. There has been a significant change in their music style from their earlier songs which are available on Soundcloud. One can hear the ‘ambient’ and ‘groovy’ aspect more in this full length album. The Lyrics of each song targets various issues, including work life, dreams, city life, colours and many more.The pre – chorus of the song,‘Broke’

‘ I hate my job, I’m a loser,

but then a beggar can he, can he be a chooser’

clearly shows the plight of independent musicians in today’s world, where financial constraints force them to do permanent jobs and somehow facilitate hindrances to their creativity. On the other hand, a song like ‘Waiting’ resembles a traditional alternative rock sound in the style of Indus Creed. The vocal harmonies woo the listener as soon as they hit the ear drums.

The bass solo on ‘Waiting’ is Eargasm! and the grooves on the other songs are equally noteworthy. The guitars on each track  complement the bass and the tones used for overdrive and cleans gives the listener an ambient/psychedelic entertainment. The keyboard serve its purpose efficiently, with an ambient tone backing on each song. The drums on the track somehow resembles a complex mixture of the styles of playing of musicians like Stewart Copeland of The Police, Chad Smith of RHCP and a few others.

As far as the production is concerned, the audio quality is impressive and it is well mixed and mastered. Definitely this album is a class apart from other mainstream music available in the market. If you are a fan of The Police, RHCP as well as some ambient/progressive music like White Moth Black Butterfly, and Karnivool, this is the record for you. Access there album here: Five8

After their 9th Studio Album- Backspacer- being acclaimed by many as their best work yet Pearl Jam after almost a 4 year long break have given us a sneak peek into their upcoming album Lightning Bolt. This preview comes in the form of the song Mind Your Manners, released over the internet 2 days back. Let us dig right into the striking features of this Lightning Bolt then:

The song starts off with a guitar progression that is quite punchy, yet the tone is rounded off well, making it a rather easy way in. And then the vocals hit you, if you are not a regular to PJ’s music (like me) then it’ll take you a moment to realize that it still is Eddie Vedder. He doesn’t look or sound like the guy in Alive or Jeremy, but is amazing nevertheless. The style of vocals complements the lyrics and in turn the title of the track. The lyrics are cloaked in religious references and so is the cover art for this track- we saw some resemblance to the cover art of Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy here.

About halfway through the song the masterstroke comes in, the guitar solo. Sadly this is short lived, however, by now one can realize that not only is the final sound impeccable, but PJ has played around with the soundscape a bit more. It is safe to assume that the band must’ve had a lot of fun during the production.

In so many ways the song is similar to the PJ sound (case in point- Spin the Black Circle) but in many ways different and a leap forward. If this song is the centrepiece of the album, Lightning Bolt will be one album to look out for.

So Sailors, Mind your Manners!