The first three tracks, not including the 43-second intro, immediately make the band's grand ambitions quite clear. The three all employ lush synthesizers and guitars with reverb to create a very immersive soundscape. "Paradise" in particular uses a great combination of strings, piano, and chorus-like vocals and synthesizers.
Anthem-like tracks like these would usually not be a problem. However, Coldplay seems to have developed a slight addiction to them. It certainly does not help that more than a third of the album feels like it was derived from U2's "Beautiful Day" in some way. "Don't Let it Break Your Heart" is the most obviously "U2-esque" song on the album, although it is still a strong track.
Luckily, the album changes up the pace regularly, stopping the U2 worship from creating any sort of monotony. Notably, mostly the acoustic tracks, "Us Against the World", "U.F.O", and "Up in Flames" allow you to relax your ears a bit, and hear singer Chris Martin emote without a blanket of electronic effects. My favorite of these was "U.F.O.", though all three break up the mood well.
Overall, Mylo Xyloto is what you would expect coming from Coldplay, based on how they have evolved over the years. The album feels like a natural transition from Viva la Vida.
If you have any problem with flamboyant arena rock, or you were expecting a less electronic album likeParachutes or A Rush of Blood to the Head, I would not recommend this album. On the other hand, if you enjoy a grand and immersive musical atmosphere, like I do, then you will enjoy this album.
My rating: 8.5/10
Favorite tracks: "Paradise", "Don't Let it Break Your Heart", "Major Minus"