Picks and Pans Review: Coldplay

UPDATED 06/13/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/13/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

X&Y
ALT-ROCK
CRITIC'S CHOICE

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Recently Chris Martin, leader of Britain's Coldplay and husband of Gwyneth Paltrow, told the Los Angeles Times, "Our goal is to take over from U2." If that mission might seem a bit audacious—even after these blokes sold 17 million copies worldwide of their first two albums and won four Grammys (including Record of the Year in 2004 for "Clocks")—it won't after you feast your ears on X&Y. This is their Joshua Tree, achieving an anthemic grandeur that rivals Bono and company. Boasting a bigger sound and a bigger musical scope than 2000's Parachutes or 2002's A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y is the work of a band reaching for the masses—and immortality. Some songs, such as the dynamic "Twisted Logic," rock harder than ever before, while the hidden track "'Til Kingdom Come," which was originally written for Johnny Cash (who died before he recorded it), is a simple, countryish ditty. It is one of several love songs that seem to allude to Martin's relationship with Paltrow: "I need someone, someone who hears/For you I've waited all these years." With more drum kick from Will Champion throughout and some danceable rhythms that nod to both electronica ("Square One") and neo-new wave ("Low"), X&Y is Coldplay's most energetic effort. But they are still at their melancholy, melodic best on glorious ballads like "Fix You," on which Martin's choirboy falsetto, Jonny Buckland's acoustic strumming and the cathedral-ready keyboards give way to a bridge ("Tears stream down your face/When you lose something you cannot replace") built to carry you over troubled waters.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Fix You"

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