Tomorrow sees the release of the new album by Coldplay.  They’re a band that I’ve always been fascinated by, as I love a lot of their stuff.   They’re a lot more experimental than people give them credit for and one of their new tracks, Arabesque, is a great example.

A five-and-a-half minute ramble on one chords, with a verse in French and a two-minute freak out saxophone solo in the middle, this is a million miles from the band that many people think of, with the stately and mournful ballads such as The Scientist and Trouble.

As with most people my age, I got into them through the song Yellow in 2000.  In a musical landscape dominated by A1 and Westlife, it was a bolt of beauty, a seemingly effortless melody. 

Their debut album, Parachutes, was beautiful.  Full of late-night, acoustic laments about lost love, self-doubt and the stars.  Easy listening for indie kids.  But they seemed too fragile to last and I honestly thought they’d be a flash in the pan.

Yet, when they resurfaced in 2002, they had transformed, visually and sonically, into an arena act.  It felt very sudden and it cannot be underestimated how omnipresent that band was for the next 18 months.  I didn’t like A Rush of Blood To The Head.  I found it contrived, like they were writing songs to order and all the charm of the debut was lost.  

(I was also dismayed that The Scientist had almost exactly the same melody and chords as a piece of music that I was working on.   But that’s another story, and obviously there’s no way they could have heard my piece as it was always a work in progress on a little cassette in my bedsit.  Anyway, that’s another story.)

Their next album, X&Y, sounded like a giant, immaculate spaceship.

However, their fourth album, Viva La Vida, is by far their best, as far as I’m concerned.  Experimental, dark, jubilant and atmospheric, it is a joy to listen to from start to finish and one of my favourite albums ever.

Since then, they’ve continued to evolve and it’s amazing to think that the quiet, introverted folky band at the start of the century is the same one that doesn’t the loud, sparkling stadium shows full of poppy hits and fireworks.

It’s been quite a transformation and I’m quite excited to see where they go next.

Oh, one final thing; watch this – it’s brilliant.