Kodaline have certainly had a quick ascent to the top – at least in radio play fame. Aided undoubtedly by BBC recognition, the four piece from Swords have released three singles to date which epitomise their sound and talent for writing radio-friendly, folk-pop. In A Perfect World does little to alter the plan, although opener ‘One Day’ immediately offers vocals unlike we’ve heard from them yet, Steven Garrigan highlighting his lower range which is equally beautiful and just as evoking as his falsetto. It’s a huge track, similar to something a folk band could play at a Grammy show, or y’know failing that…the next single.
Moving on, the first two releases from the album ‘All I Want’ and ‘High Hopes’ (minus soppy videos) follow; there is very little to say that hasn’t already been but despite their overplayed nature, are prime examples of fantastic writing. ‘Love Like This’ softens the mould, an upbeat and certainly more cheery song than we’ve heard despite its lyrics. Harmonica’s, percussive strumming and intermittent chuckles shows their playful side and is a bit more positive than expected. About halfway through and ‘After The Fall’ opens the valve for those all important ‘oohs’ ‘aahs’ and harmonies. A faster tempo, peppered with fellow band mate’s vocals make for a good accompaniment and evens out their lead.
The album’s highlight comes as ‘All Comes Down To’ appears with group vocals and a repetitive chorus makes the hook all the better rather than what could have been grating. Some of the best song writing can be showcased in its minimalism and in the same way ‘The Blowers Daughter’ phrases it’s chorus, this track too shows glimpses of genius. The chant that ends this song is probably a sight to behold live. If anything leaves this album down however, it’s that ‘Talk’ and ‘Pray’ are a little bland; on the whole they’re actually not bad, but in comparison to the eight that precede them they don’t justify their position as closers. ‘Way Back When’ swings the vote again ending the album on a reminiscent ode to friendship, youth and adventure.
Kodaline are still growing and will likely be criticised for maturing too soon; they remain students and while In A Perfect World doesn’t redefine anything, it does give them a direction. There’s an airy optimism that’s charming given the state of the world today, and even if you’re bitter about love the tracks still give you something to take home. Best of all, it’s surely a precursor to something much bigger.