IT’S BEEN ONE HELL OF A YEAR FOR BRIT rockers Coldplay. Despite recently canceling a handful of dates on their debut U.S. tour, the foursome continues to ride high on a waveof critical and public acclaim fueled by their hit album, Parachutes, and its infectious single, “Yellow.”

Following the summer release of Parachutes in the U.K. and the November premiere in the States, the group has experienced a variety of accolades and praises. Numerous publications included the band and its record among lists of 2000’s top musical highlights. The outfit was nominated for Britain’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize last year, and it walked away with three trophies at the NME Carling Awards and two at last week’s Brit Awards, including best British group.

Coldplay’s album immediately jumped to the top of the charts in the U.K. after its release and has maintained a spot among SoundScan’s domestic album chart. The emotion-filled tune “Yellow” is a mainstay on many music video channels and a favorite among a variety of radio formats. The U.S. follow-up single either “Shiver” or “Trouble,” according to group reps will undoubtedly propel the band further.

While it’s been a whirlwind trip during the past few months for Coldplay, the musicians still have their feet on the ground. “Around the time of the album being released (in the U.K.), we were in Italy and France, and it wasn’t that big of a deal there,” guitarist Jonny Buckland told POLLSTAR.

“So we were on a beach in Sicily when we found out it got to No. 1 in Britain. And we’re there playing a free festival with lots of people waiting for a Sicilian heavy metal band to go on after us. It kind of brought us down to earth.”

It’s a safe bet that fans weren’t the only ones bummed when Coldplay was forced to cancel three dates and reschedule another show after vocalist Chris Martin and bassist Guy Berryman succumbed to the flu bug. In the wake of the cancellations, U.K.-based band manager Phil Harvey relayed the band’s sentiments to fans.

“On behalf of the band, I would like to apologise for the inevitable disappointment and inconvenience these cancellations cause,” he said. “By way of solace, all I can say is that I am already working on an extensive North American tour for May / June.”

Along the same lines as Harvey’s words, talking to the group’s various reps revealed a common, genuine passion for the band and its music.

Nettwerk Management chief Terry McBride explained his fondness of the band’s album, which was released in North America on his company’s label through a joint venture with EMI. “I happen to like it,” he told POLLSTAR. “I mean, Nettwerk, very simply, only puts out music it likes. I’m not mandated to release stuff. My mandate is to release music that I like and also music that I think by releasing and working it, we can actually help it.”

Coldplay’s U.S. agent, Marty Diamond of Little Big Man Booking, told POLLSTAR of his equally fervent commitment to the group. “They rule,” he said. “They’re passionate. They’re hard-working. They’re spirited. Their music carries tremendous emotional appeal.”

He added: “They affect people and that’s important. And that’s their goal. That’s what you hope a band does.”

Coldplay has definitely proved it affects people. The group’s 10-city North American tour encountered such a demand for tickets that venues in many cities such as Los Angeles and Toronto were upgraded to larger halls and theatres.

“We moved a lot of the venues from 1,000 seaters up to the 2,000 seaters,” McBride said, “and the extra thousand tickets went in, like, one day.”

Diamond said the group’s upcoming U.S. tour will, in fact, commence in late May and run through June, hitting large halls between 2,000 and 4,000 capacity.

Reviews of the band’s U.S. concerts were positive. Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic Robert Hilburn said of the group’s first of two Mayan Theatre shows: “At a time when so much of U.S. commercial rock is taken up with paint-by-number anger and aggression, a band with its own voice and a down-to-earth approach is doubly warming.”

A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Coldplay upped the rock ante not with bombast or overheated angst, but with a sublime mix of delicacy and carefully rationed aggression.”

One main reason behind Coldplay’s positive performance reviews rests in its smash album, which proved to be a recording challenge. “We wanted to finish it in two weeks. … In the end, it took 10 weeks to record and mix,” Buckland said. “The original idea was to just put everything down live, but then we realized that we didn’t have enough songs that all of us liked. … We were all quite drained after finishing it.”

Buckland, who was in New Zealand awaiting the launch of the Big Day Out tour when he talked to POLLSTAR, was calm about debuting in the U.S. “We’re really looking forward to it. … I’m not really nervous at all. I tend to get nervous if we haven’t sold very many tickets. But we’ve done all right,” he said. “Not too many people go to gigs who hate the bands.”