Coming Up For Air is Irish pop-rockers Kodaline’s second album, released almost immediately after their debut supporting tour ended. Of course, there are bands talented enough in this world that can manage this kind of calendar. Logically, this means there are bands that cannot.
Coming Up For Air is a perfectly good pop record. The problem lies when its predecessor, 2013’s fantastic In A Perfect World, sets a bar so high that it ends up eclipsing the intentions of the band itself. Four years ago, Kodaline rushed towards the opportunity of riding a wave, not letting momentum die, probably influenced by outside forces, cogs in a machine, within the industry, instead of waiting, calming down, taking a breath, and thinking carefully about their next step.
It’s common for pop acts to ride the momentum. No one knows how long it’ll last. It is less common for bands to jump right back in after a grueling, exhausting tour, what with playing, giving interviews, promoting the album, travelling and being away from their home and loved ones. Coming Up For Air feels exactly as what it is: a less-than-two-years effort following up a lifetime of working in their masterful debut. It feels lackluster and rushed.
The songs sound fuller, livelier, better produced, but somehow end up feeling… hollow. Somewhat dissapointing. The sound is fine, I suppose. It’s meant to sound good. A lot of people worked on it sounding good. But when the music is expected to be good, the focus goes on to the rest of the elements that make up each song. Some stellar tracks save it from complete oblivion, but overall it just won’t win a spot on your wall.
It is almost impossible to avoid comparisons, but in the case of Kodaline, maybe we should. Their music is much more enjoyable when we’re not focusing on finding similarities with anyone. Of course there are, as with any band, but the point is to enjoy each combination of elements, each equation, separately in order to understand and enjoy the end result. Pop rock exists, and when done correctly, it is a beautiful thing. We know these guys have the potential to do pop rock correctly, and maybe we should give them a pass on this minor miss.
Sounds Like: Snow Patrol, Coldplay
Listen to Coming Up For Air on Spotify.