Irish suppliers of Anthemic Pop, Kodaline, started their musical career as 21 Demands back in 2005. A change of name in 2011 seemed to herald a new success for the Dublin quartet leading to a nomination for the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2013’ poll and in the process being championed by Fearne Cotton.
Kodaline’s debut, ‘In A Perfect World’, is packed full of emotive songs of love and loss. The passionate ballad, ‘All Comes Down’, presents us with soulful singing and climatic build up, whilst the power-chords and penetrating falsetto of songs such as ‘High Hopes’ and ‘Brand New Day’ seem distinctly reminiscent of successful early noughties crooners, Keane. The album as a whole sounds to me like it should form a soundtrack to some sort of teenage, angst-filled, sitcom such as (my personal favourite) The O.C. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I do like a good bit of drama with rebellious Ryan or the endearingly nerdy Seth. Songs such as the opening track, ‘One Day’ or the equally sentimental ‘Pray’, in particular, have enough emotion-filled, gushing lyrics and swooping choruses to fill the whole of Orange County and 90210 put together.
However, some of the songs on the album are a little more folky, with catchy melodies and foot-tapping tunes. ‘Love Like This’, for example, is one of the more upbeat-sounding tracks with chords speedily strummed, and harmonica-filled interludes, whilst ‘Way Back When’ with its plinky-plonky melody and cheery whistling proves a welcome break from the intense, agonising anthems that make up the majority of the album. Despite a few jovial songs, ‘In A Perfect World’ doesn’t seem to lose its O.C soundtrack feeling; and, at certain points, I could quite clearly envisage my beloved Ryan dramatically chasing after a pouting Marisa against a back drop of crashing waves and tanned surfers (damn, wish I hadn’t sold my box set…)
Although it doesn’t appear to have the poignant effect that is intended, Kodaline’s debut is pleasant enough to listen to, with plenty of pretty, catchy tunes. Though, in a perfect world, I wouldn’t listen to this album again, I don’t necessarily object to hearing snippets of these emotion-filled ballads accompanying the most tear-jerking scenes of my favourite sitcoms.