Time has passed since the all-conquering A Rush Of Blood To The Head. Chris Martin is now husband to an Oscar-winning actress, a daddy and leader of a band with a massive fan base whose thirst needs quenching. Speed Of Sound, Coldplay's first single in two years, is the first taste of forthcoming third album X&Y. So what's changed?
The short answer would seem to be, not much. A new producer there may be, but Will Champion's drums sound remarkably similar to Clocks. Chris Martin's cracked tenor, harmonising with itself, hasn't changed one jot. And the piano's still there from the opening bars to define the oft-copied Coldplay sound, backed by padded string synth and atmospheric guitar.
Things I Don't Understand and Proof back the release, the latter a dead cert for audience mobile phone waving at the band's forthcoming gigs. Martin's voice is tenderly fragile, so much so that it often seems like he won't hit his notes. He does, of course.
It may be that the rest of X&Y evolves Coldplay onto a different plain, but Speed Of Sound is familiar, safe territory. In consequence, it's a little less exciting than it might have been, though the bonus tracks are worth a hearing.