The cover to the debut EP by Dublin four-piece Kodaline depicts sunlight bursting through a tangle of twisted woodland. Think of the Monty Python “Oscar Wilde” sketch, during which the then Prince of Wales is compared to “a stream of bat’s piss in the night.” “I merely meant, Your Majesty, that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark,” goes the reply.
Well, with The Kodaline EP, as this taster is modestly titled, the young band does a fair amount of shining in the dark. The music frequently soars over mostly lovelorn and downbeat lyrics. So rather than invoking melancholy, the band’s uplifting, anthemic hooks inspire hope.
Opener “All I Want” has been making waves since soundtracking a trailer for the new series of Greys Anatomy, with its classic slow build, rousing guitar crescendos, and excellent drumming. Here frontman Steve Garrigan’s arching vocal is a bit too close to Chris Martin’s to offer distinction, but the song itself is genuinely touching.
“Lose Your Mind” offers a contrast, evoking a Magical Mystery Tour feel over surreal lyrics, while the hollow piano and strident acoustic strumming in the atmospheric “Pray” recalls early Radiohead. Garrigan even works with passable Thom Yorke impression. Final track “Perfect World” is straight-forward pop, admitting that the world isn’t perfect, but hoping that one day it will be.
With time, Kodaline could carve out a more unique niche for itself. Right now, however, its poise and purpose is weakened by some familiar and obvious influences.
Essential Tracks: “All I Want”