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Released: 6th June 2005.

Coldplay - X&YArguably one of the most, if not the most, anticipated releases of 2005, Coldplay's third album looks set to chart well around the world. But is it up to scratch?

One great aspect of this album is its night-time feel, in particular heard on the atmospheric first single, "Speed Of Sound". There are the usual heartfelt songs that the band is known for, so if you want to win a girl over, play "A Message" to her and she might just fall for you.

However, there are a few letdowns. "Swallowed By The Sea" is flat and tedious, in particular for those finding Chris Martin's vocals annoying. "Whilst The Hardest Part" while nice enough, is too samey and would be better placed as a B-side. The secret track "Till Kingdom Come" is nothing much to rave about either.

Nevertheless, we hear glimpses of brilliance in the title track, which brings back memories of Radiohead's "Pyramid Song" - the ambient, dreamy chorus is a particular highlight. "Low" is another great track which sees the boys up the beats-per-minute and indulge in a little rock & roll.

Note to Chris Martin - you can stop worrying now. The fans and critics are going to love this, the anticipation has been well deserved.

* * * * (SR)

After three years of anticipation Coldplay return with their third album.

"X&Y" is more upbeat, more relaxed and more creative than the fantastic but quite slow-going "A Rush Of Blood To The Head".

As we all probably know, the album's concept is about the relationship between frontman Chris Martin and actor Gywneth Paltrow. Singles such as "Fix You", "What If" and the title track itself being proofs of this.

Highlights include the lead single "Speed Of Sound" and "White Shadows", yet the album's best track is the Kraftwerk-sampling "Talk", which could give Coldplay their first No. 1 single.

Overall, "X&Y" is another great offering from the band everyone was counting on. You will not be disappointed.

Best track: "Talk"

Worst tracks: "Swallowed In The Sea", "Fix You"

* * * * (Dave Kirkham)

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