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Kodaline - In A Perfect World (Album Review)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 Written by Graeme Marsh

Hailing from Swords, just outside Dublin, the four unassuming lads that make up Kodaline found themselves catapulted into the limelight following the release of a touching video for All I Want in 2012. A modern take on Beauty and the Beast, set in an office environment, the video has clocked up in excess of three million views on Youtube.

Written by singer Steve Garrigan following the break up of a relationship, All I Want drew comparisons to Coldplay with its anthemic, soaring elements. Garrigan’s voice is far more distinctive than Chris Martin’s though, and has an endearing quality similar to Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Add a touch of Irish charm and fragility, a dash of folk and the Boxer Rebellion’s stadium sheen, and you’ve pretty much nailed the band’s sound.

Beginning life as 21 Demands, the band changed their name to Kodaline in 2011. It wasn’t until later that they discovered they shared the moniker with, as guitarist Mark Prendergast puts it, “a character on fuckin’ World of Warcraft”. Recent months have seen the band championed by Radio 1 DJs, in particular Fearne Cotton, as well as being named on the BBC’s Sound of 2013 longlist, although they ultimately finished just outside the top five.

There are a number of songs in this collection that follow the Coldplay formula for success. Slow burners gradually build to epic climaxes, with stadium-filling, anthemic choruses repeated until the outro settles back down for a quiet sign-off.  

All I Want is the strongest of these songs and is a real tear-jerker, but opening track One Day is another excellent example. The message is clear, and states that life will pass you by all too quickly. The track urges the listener to stop wasting time by being on their own, worrying about what other people will think of them, and culminates in one of those familiar sing-a-long choruses.

Big Bad World follows the same pattern, as does All Comes Down with its staccato synths. Talk is another, a reflective look at all the things that Garrigan would change if he could rewind time. It’s structured like Fix You but doesn’t quite match the Coldplay classic for emotional quality.

Aside from the bread and butter tracks on this recording, Kodaline are more than a one-trick pony. On the rollicking folk jaunt of Love Like This the band displays their ability to knock out bouncy, upbeat foot stompers and they repeat the trick on album closer Way Back When, with its acoustic, playful vibe. The piano-driven After The Fall provides a little more variety, along with the Muse-like Pray. The track shows another feather to their cap, emanating a more serious, doomy and apocalyptic feel.

In A Perfect World is exactly where you will find yourself when listening to several of the tracks here. For a debut album this is a very strong and accomplished collection of songs and the down to earth charm of the Irish quartet can only help them in their cause. With Garrigan stating that they have, successfully, it has to be said, attempted to tap into feelings that will resonate with as many people as possible, it is surely only a matter of time before this band endear themselves to a huge audience.

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