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Sunday, 9 July, 2000, 00:47 GMT 01:47 UK
CD Review: Coldplay
Coldplay
Coldplay: Parachutes (Parlophone)
By the BBC's Nigel Packer

With expectations weighing heavily upon them, Coldplay must feel a little like Tim Henman stepping onto Centre Court.

Fresh from a humdinger of a set at Glastonbury, and with latest single Yellow bringing a splash of colour to the charts, the time has come for Britain's brightest young guitar band to show an expectant public exactly what they can do.

So is Parachutes worth getting in a flap about? For the most part the answer is yes. As a debut it shows great poise and promise, and if it's not the most original album of the year it's certainly one of the most lovingly-crafted.
Coldplay album cover
The band's single Yellow went Top Five in the UK

The most striking aspect of the band's sound is undoubtedly Chris Martin's voice - languid and frayed around the edges, with a tendency to break into falsetto at unexpected moments.

It's given plenty of scope to shine on some exceptional songs - from brooding ballad Trouble to jagged first single Shiver.

Curtain-raiser Don't Panic offers an early indication of the band's confidence.

Rather than kick off with a big guitar fanfare and blazing chorus, they are content to bide their time and envelop listeners in their atmospheric sound.

Melodies slowly unfurl rather than explode into life, and guitarist Jonny Buckland shows intelligent restraint throughout - never swamping songs with effects, but using them to establish mood and create a sense of space.

Sparks floats along beautifully to the gentlest of backings, while the very brief title track finds Martin alone with a guitar and a passing thought.

At times Parachutes leans a little too heavily towards quiet introspection, when the band's greatest strength lies in soaring flights of emotion like Yellow.

But there are enough gravity defying moments to justify all the attention, and establish Coldplay as a force to be reckoned with.

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