Review of The High Hopes EP by Kodaline

Dublin four-piece Kodaline release their second EP, 'The High Hopes', perhaps wanting to raise everyone's hopes in enough time for those who enjoyed to listen/purchase their debut album, 'In A Perfect World', due to be released in June. Their first four-track EP 'The Kodaline' came out last September. 'The High Hopes' is an odd mix of tracks, namely two originals, a cover and a remix of a song from the previous EP, 'All I Want', by Everything Everything. Everyone seemed to have a lot of love for the video for 'All I Want'. It featured a contemporary Beauty and the Beast theme set in a generic office, not a castle or palace. All the tracks on the EP, minus the remix, are accompanied by heartfelt visual offerings. Kodaline seem to have mastered the art of melancholic concept videos filled with desperation, love and heart, giving a powerful voice to the tracks. 

Kodaline The High Hopes EP

Opening song 'High Hopes' is an optimistic affair with fragile keys and a sorrow-filled riff, giving it a sort-of Coldplay status and the chart factor. Vocalist Stephen Garrigan sings "High hopes when it all comes to an end, but the world keeps spinning around". His involved, progressive vocal is reminiscent of Tom Odell. 'The Answer' is a much more timid affair with a delicate rhythm as Garrigan murmurs, "So watch your step or you might fall, you act like you're a know it all". 

A bit of Kodaline trivia; the band used to be called 21 Demands and were fired out of a reality show cannon. Back in 2007 they had a number one in their native Ireland with 'Give Me A Minute'. 21 Demands sounds like a band on 'The Big Reunion' so it's no wonder the same four members more recently transformed themselves into the trendier 'Kodaline', whatever that represents. 

Kodaline's choice to cover LCD Soundsystem's 'All My Friends' was a good one because it has really allowed them to channel the more acoustic elements of their sound on to an otherwise pace-y track. It creates a completely different atmosphere and meaning to the song. Everything Everything's remix of 'All I Want' is a fun ending to the EP with the buzzing synths and echoed robot-style jabbering. 

It's too early to say whether Kodaline will be the next big thing, but with two or three ridiculously solid singles coming out of two EPs, their album will have to be packed with sharp tracks or it could verge on disappointing. 

Hayley Fox

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