Newfound Brit-pop rock bands release record and finish tour

Mike Schoeck

Bands Coldplay and Gomez, the freshest proprietors to the higher British Rock plateau, are on their last leg of touring with new record releases.
Newfound Brit-pop group Coldplay found success with acclaimed singles “Yellow,” “Shiver” and “Trouble.” “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” out since Aug. 27, is their second release on Capitol Records.
The quartet has a mellow and dreamier sound than fellow London cohorts Radiohead, who continue to delve further into the electronic realms of Brit-pop.
Coldplay formed at England’s University College in London in 1998 by Chris Martin, Will Champion, Guy Berryman and Jon Buckland.
With a five-track E.P. and a large following on the isle, their “Parachutes” debut album landed in the U.S. in the spring of 2000.
Their debut was a runner-up for the Mercury Prize, a prestigious U.K. award given to ground-breaking Brit albums that Gomez and Badly Drawn Boy have both won in past years.
The sophomore effort is much more poignant than their first episode, with a more upbeat and still reflective somber tone.
“Rush of Blood” has eleven stand out tracks, of which “In My Place” is the first single.
Lead-off track “Politik” has The Kinks and Supergrass blend of bouncy intermissions between verses in which Martin demands, “Give me real, don’t give me fake / Give me strength, reserve control / Give me heart and give me soul.”
“In My Place” is a more anthem-geared track, much like “Yellow,” but shows more heart from Jeff Buckley than the more mellow mix off “Parachutes.”
Although keyboards and upper fretted guitars are utilized in Coldplay’s repertoire, they are scorching and soaring on “Rush of Blood” rather than just setting a trance on “Parachutes.”
“Clocks” is pure synthesized pop that starts to tick in trance, but ends as a blazing euphoric Euro rock gem, much like the waltzing “Whisper.”
“Sparks” shifts back into low-gear as a more subtle and shuffling mellow trance that make up the slimmer portion of Coldplay’s second full length record.
While Coldplay is back in the U.K. after only a handful of North American dates this past month, Gomez is just starting their engine jamming “folk-tronic” with bluesy Brit-pop music across the U.S. in the weeks to come.
This five-piece band won the distinguished U.K. Mercury Prize for their 1998 debut, “Bring it On.” Their organic American roots-blues side remains on their third studio record, “In Our Gun,” released in March of this year on Virgin Records.
The first reward of their thirteen “Gun” tracks is “Shot Shot,” a revolving dirty road blues track featuring the hoots of saxophonist Rob Charles. The track resembles the steps made by Tom Waits and Morphine in the tune of Beatnik procession.
“Rex Kramer” has electronic funk beats looped behind a slide guitar melody as vocalist Ben Ottewell and company trip through their Brit-pop number.
In the swaying jam of “Detroit Swing 66” Ottewell and backing vocalists Ian Ball and Tom Gray harmonize in typical Gomez fashion, mix-mashing lyrics about hippies and a descending spaceship in jive fashion, urging the audience to set themselves free.
The bulk of the Gomez catalog has songs about mortality, and the underlying message is to go out, set your mind free and have some kicks.
Staples include the wild nights in “Whippin’ Piccadilly,” blues-soul homage and harmony in “Rhythm & Blues Alibi” and even an exuberant Beatles cover song “Getting Better,” which was featured in countless Phillips electronics commercials a few years ago.
Gomez is playing at New York City’s Roseland on Sept. 27 before the Rolling Stones hit up the small venue for a sold-out show on Sept. 30.
Gomez and Coldplay, as well as fellow Brit’s Badly Drawn Boy, Doves and Radiohead, continue to remain among the top U.K. acts, pushing aside new releases from older 1990’s bands like Bush and Oasis.