The CORAL – ” Coral Island ” Best Albums Of 2021

Posted: January 1, 2022 in MUSIC

Hopefully you’ve been with The Coral since their celebrated, self-titled, mercury prize-nominated debut in 2002, are a lapsed fan or have never heard of them before, ‘Coral Island’ which is the 10th body of work from the legendary Merseyside band – is a joy for the ears & soul….& the dinked edition is another pretty special offering too. Three years on from 2018’s unconvincing ‘Move Through The Dawn’, The Coral have returned with possibly their finest release to date. ‘Coral Island’ is loosely themed around different seasons in a seaside location, songs woven together by spoken language excerpts from a work of fiction entitled ‘Over Coral Island’, written by the band’s keyboard player, Nick Power. Such stitching is atmospheric but don’t go thinking this is some impenetrable concept album.

The Coral have come a long way in their 25 years together from a ragtag group of Merseyside teens hopped up on old Deram Records sides into one of most astute acts in modern UK rock. Now as men in the throes of middle age, they’ve turned around and delivered some of the most English Britpop since Blur’s The Great Escape.

The wheels rattle into the thrilling unknown on the Coral’s first ever double-album, which finds the unsurpassed, metamorphic gonzo-pop five-piece remaining wilfully & delightfully idiosyncratic. still heavily influenced by the classic song-writing of love, the Beatles & the Byrds, the psych-folk popsters remain inventive as they weave spoken word & cinematic instrumental interludes amongst the glorious melding of their retro melodies, guitar twang, 60s psychedelia & folk-rock influences.

Squinting into the neon-lit penny arcades & draining an after hours glass with the displaced & dispossessed once the power is pulled, The Coral’s latest caper concerns listeners with the light, shade, thrills & profound melancholy of coastal palaces packed with fun & fright.

Recorded in a sense of barely-controlled, copy & paste chaos at Parr Street studios in Liverpool, ‘Coral Island’ was written & performed by the multi-instrumentalist & multi-talented line-up of James Skelly, Ian Skelly, Nick Power, Paul Duffy & Paul Molloy plus a special guest.

Few of their peers from the 00s indie boom are so hale and hearty; 20 years into their career, the Merseyside band made their most ambitious album, and one of their best. It’s a double concept album about a seaside resort, and captures those towns’ blend of buckets-and-spades buoyancy and out-of-season malaise; gorgeous harmonies flow through jangling psych-pop and touches of northern soul, though there’s also creepy rockabilly emanating from the ghost train and ballads for lonely fishermen at the end of the pier.

The 2LP set, pressed at Takt in Poland and silent other than a couple of slightly noisy run-in grooves, sounds fulsome and maintains decent separation during the jubilant jangle of ebullient highlights ‘Change Your Mind’ and ‘Take Me Back To The Summertime’. There are nods to the frenetic psych of their early output alongside more melancholic mid-paced treats like ‘Strange Illusions’. James Skelly’s voice only seems to be improving with age and such is the quality of the song writing that a double album at this stage in their career is most welcome.

Sometimes “Dinked” is about bringing new music to new fans. sometimes it’s about bringing old music to new fans. sometimes it’s about bringing old fans to new music. sometimes it’s about rekindling an old love.
The band’s album ‘Coral Island’ released on 30th April 2021.

Ballads for lonely fishermen ... the Coral.

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