Review of Coming Up For Air Album by Kodaline

Kodaline are an Irish quartet who released their debut album 'In A Perfect World' in 2013, topping the charts for nine weeks in their homeland and selling a very respectable 350,000 units.  This follow-up saw them collaborate with Jacknife Lee, a cohort of Snow Patrol and Taylor Swift, and sees them play headline UK shows in the coming month before touring North America.

Kodaline Coming Up For Air Album

For a quick guide to what 'Coming Up For Air' is all about, a listen of the bookend tracks provides an accurate summary.  'Honest' is a pop-rock number that sits comfortably on daytime radio, with no danger or, indeed, intent to offend, and features a chorus targeting arenas.  The closing 'Love Will Set You Free' is a piano-based ballad that sees Steve Garrigan resembling Maroon 5's Adam Levine.  It builds to what is intended to be a stirring finale, though it is debatable as to whether this is really achieved given the suspect emotion of the performance.  Between these tracks, 'Autopilot' feels expansive and liberated, but the Gaelic flavour of 'Unclear' plods along aimlessly and should have been omitted.   The fluctuation in quality continues throughout the album - 'Ready' is a fun and likeable romp, but gets followed by the overblown 'Better', which is a lesson in how to take the power-ballad beyond enjoyable limits.  There is no doubt that they remain at all times open to mass-market appeal, but the results here are very much hit-and-miss.  At their best, they can match countrymen The Script, but they need to find consistency.


Alex Lai

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