Coldplay Tries A Few New Things

06/09/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Alan Light New York Times

WITH its frescoed walls and waiters in white jackets, the Café Carlyle is like a Hollywood version of old-school New York sophistication.

It's not usually a place to go looking for rock stars, but on Monday nights Woody Allen is often there, playing the clarinet with his New Orleans jazz band, and Chris Martin, the singer of the British rock band Coldplay, catches his sets when he can. At a small table just inside the door, between bites of salmon and sips of a Bellini, Mr. Martin recalled why he was initially drawn to Mr. Allen's films. "Everyone else was either too optimistic or too pessimistic," he said. "He seemed to have it just right."

It makes perfect sense that Chris Martin, 31, is a Woody Allen fan. He is possibly the most self-deprecating lead singer in pop history, constantly saying things like "I don't listen to our records because it makes me break out in tears and sweat," and "We have a rule that only the four of us can ever be onstage because we don't want to be upstaged by someone more attractive." ("He's always been like that, really," said Guy Berryman, the band's bassist.) On June 17, however, Coldplay will release its fourth album, "Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends" (Capitol), and even Mr. Martin is having a hard time retaining his modesty about it. The release, which was co-produced by Brian Eno, marks a leap forward for the group, adding experimental textures, arrangements and structures to its music while retaining the sweeping melodies and soaring hooks at the heart of its enormous appeal.

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