The Coral The Coral Review

BBC Review

The album is a jaunty jog through a soundscape that incorporates large dosings of beat...

Daniel Pike 2002

The Coral's debut is unpretentious and fun. Put simply, these six lads, average age a rather perturbing 19, have really pulled it out of the bag.

The sonic variety of the album is startling. Robert Johnson procured his legendary blues prowess from the Devil. No really. Correspondingly, the ocean-obsessed Coral boys with their omnifarious musical approach must owe Proteus - the Greek sea god who could change form at will - a fair whack in royalties if not souls.

The album is a jaunty jog through a soundscape that incorporates large dosings of beat and psychedelia, some angsty pop, a spot of dub, a hint at disco groove and even some sort of Cossack, erm, la-de-da something or other. Hell, they even reference weird sea shanty chants on "Calendars and Clocks" - surely never before heard outside of remote Cornish fishing villages.

"Simon Diamond" and "Goodbye" have an early Pink Floyd resonance. "Badman" sounds Doorsy. "Dreaming of You" must surely have been discretely dug up from a time capsule buried in the Mersey mud at the time of beat explosion. The overall sound and attitude can be likened to a cross between Shack and Super Furry Animals.

Songs are short and snappy. Melodies are gloopy, thick and catchy. Despite leaping between styles and textures within and between tracks, The Coral, due to their accomplished musicianship and over-riding sense of mirth, somehow achieve an incredible overall coherence.

The high quality of the song-writing is a further unifying factor. Verse-chorus-verse staples are expertly executed. The third person story-telling tradition is represented by "Simon Diamond", chunky guitars and rousing choruses rock on through "Badman" while shouty psychedelic randomness hauls you excitedly through "Skeleton Key".

So they're good, really good, but are they gonna be big? Well, their self-assuredness, evident in the cocky assertion that "I ain't going down like that" in "I Remember When" suggests they have the grit. However, mass success tends to limit itself to genre-specific bands who capably mine a limited seam. Laudably, the Coral seem incapable of so confining themselves. With this as their only limitation, surely, you've gotta love 'em.

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