If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Chris Martin and co. must be feeling pretty good about themselves. In becoming one of the biggest bands of the decade, Coldplay have spawned a seemingly never ending supply of acts (Snow Patrol, Keane, the Fray) that combine heartfelt, emotive lyrics with soaring anthemic rock. But whereas most of these bands have attempted to distance themselves from the copycat tag with subsequent material, Cornish four-piece Thirteen Senses seem unashamed by it. So much so, that they've recruited Danton Supple, producer of X&Y, for their second album Contact. It's a move which will no doubt raise a few eyebrows. But it's an inspired move, with Supple's punchy production giving the band an urgency that was sometimes lacking on their more introspective debut. Lead single "All the Love in Your Hands" sets the tone, its rock-driven atmospherics pushing the guitars to the forefront amidst frontman Will South's falsetto vocals. The new beefed-up sound continues on the fuzzy basslines and sirens of "Animal," a festival anthem in the making, while "A Lot of Silence Here," with its dreamlike synths, is the kind of swoonsome, melancholic pop they're renowned for, but with a slightly darker edge. First album The Invitation failed to set the charts alight but later found an audience thanks to use of its songs on high-profile TV shows both in the U.K. (Big Brother) and the U.S. (Grey's Anatomy). This could well be the plan again here. The likes of the title track, with its trippy guitars, stomping piano, and haunting chant-like chorus seems tailor-made for a dramatic season finale, as does the emotionally charged piano-driven epic "Ones and Zeroes." The often repeated quiet verse/loud chorus formula does wear a bit thin over the course of the album and the Coldplay comparisons are entirely justified, but thanks to South's majestic voice and ever-improving songwriting, Contact is far more than just a carbon copy.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien