After tracks like “High Hopes” and “All I Want” from their debut album “In A Perfect World” were featured in a number of movie and television show soundtracks, Kodaline accumulated a larger, global fan base. Thus, it was not a surprise that the release of their latest album “Coming Up For Air” on February 9 was highly anticipated.
The album begins with the song “Honest” which was released earlier that month, and it is easily the most popular track of the album. Just from the song’s first couple of seconds, which feature a heavy drum beat and a repetitive electronic beeping, listeners immediately heard that this album’s sound is completely different from the previous album’s more acoustic and raw sound.
Although it was interesting to see that the group was experimenting with production and editing, the addition of these elements only led to confusion, and the excess of background noises clashed with lead singer Steve Garrigan’s vocals. The most disappointing part about “Honest” and a majority of the other tracks is the lyrics. Many fellow Kodaline fans would agree that the lyrics are the pride and joy of the group; however, the lyrics in “Honest” were totally cliché and so obvious that I could sing a majority of the song the first time I listened to it.
The track “Unclear” only reinforces the fact that the addition of various instruments and background vocals is distracting. At one point in the song, what sounds like a chorus of children begins to sing, drowning out Garrigan’s voice and reducing it to a meager oo-ing. The thing that is most unclear about this track is Garrigan’s voice.
The last half of the album makes me feel like the credits for a Nicholas Sparks movie are about to roll. The cheesy, whiny loop is only interrupted by the track “Play The Game,” which features an electric guitar and heavy drumming. At this point, the album loses any kind of cohesion that was established before.
Although Kodaline’s new sound can be too overproduced for fans of their previous work, tracks like “Better” are evidence that the group has not completely abandoned the idea of stepping away from the fancy studio equipment for a while. Overall, the album is a great step for the band in terms of experimenting; however, it is not impressive and definitely lacking lyrically.