A mere year and a half since their chart-topping debut album, Irish four-piece Kodaline have returned with their second offering Coming Up For Air. The debut was a huge success but we were left with an overwhelming sense of ‘more to come’ – and here it comes with the all-important follow-up. Opening with lead single ‘Honest’, the record’s off to a strong start with everything we could have expected from the band. With driving percussion, a simple hook and a soaring chorus, ‘Honest’ is proof straight away that there’s been no big reinvention of their sound between albums – they found a formula that worked, and for the most part they’ve stuck with it. Next up is heartfelt piano ballad ‘The One’, which is about as cliché love song as it can get, and frontman Steve Garrigan manages to do a perfect Chris Martin impression. The first real highlight comes from ‘Autopilot’, an upbeat gospel-tinged track reminiscent of some of the stronger points of the previous album, set apart from other overdone indie-rock anthems. The heavier riff-driven ‘Human Again’ may take some listeners by surprise; it’s bolder and more forceful than anything they’ve previously released – and along with the stomping ‘Play The Game’ and seemingly Muse-inspired ‘Lost’, it’s proof that Kodaline are still experimenting with their sound. Closing the album with ‘Love Will Set You Free’ we’re taken back to vintage Kodaline – a soaring layered ballad showcasing Garrigan’s perfect falsetto. It’s far from a ground-breaking album, and it seems Kodaline are still trying to find their place in an oversaturated industry of Coldplay, Snow Patrol and U2 wannabes – but nevertheless it’s a great listen. They may still be trying to settle on a specific sound, but fans will definitely be there with them throughout the trial and error. Kodaline are on top form throughout Coming Up For Air, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Coming Up For Air is available now, and Kodaline play Birmingham’s Institute on March 14 – see here for tickets.
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