In another world, Blue Merle might be popular and Burning In The Sun would be a multi-platinum album. But here and now, the band doesn’t stand a chance. The similarities to Coldplay, in terms of sound and voice, are immediate. Although it’s not a bad thing to be in the same breath as Coldplay, for some reason it doesn’t seem right. The music is very pleasing to the ears, but every time I get into the music, I get reminded more of Chris Martin than the actual lead singer, Luke Reynolds.
The first few tracks sound Coldplay-esque, and that’s where the album flounders. There have been many similar lead singers that achieve success. Pearl Jam and Creed have been compared, but Creed never achieved the fame and respect that Pearl Jam won. It’s not to say that the Coldplay-esque songs are bad, but the lead singers’ resemblance to each other is mighty distracting. Although “Every Ship Must Sail Away” is capable of being very moving while sounding both cold and dreary.
By the time the album reaches “Boxcar Racer”, the Coldplay comparisons tail off. “Boxcar Racer” is tough to listen to because the song title brings back memories of that not-so-good side project of two-thirds of the band Blink-182. But that’s more a dig on what I let radio force me to listen to. “Made to Run” is the next track, which leans away from Coldplay, but Reynolds manages to keep inflecting his voice to sound like him. It’s still not a bad thing because the songs are not Coldplay songs. It’s just that the lead singer sounds a lot like Chris Martin.
Blue Merle does change up their style and vary their sounds with “Seeing Through You”, which mixes a little jazz into their alternative-pop repertoire. The song is actually refreshing with its combination of various instruments and changing dominant beats. The band gets more folksy as the album progresses and culminates in “Part Of Your History”. Here, one is reminded of John Cale and Van Morrison, and Blue Merle leaves no doubt that the band is striving to differentiate themselves from Coldplay.