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The Coral Singles Collection Review

Compilation. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Lacked enough wit and imagination to really stake their claim to fame.

Garth Cartwright 2008

Liverpool’s The Coral, having been championed by Pete Best (original Beatles drummer), Noel Gallagher and even Mojo AND The NME, seemed at one point to have the world in their grasp. It was their easy way with lazy psychedelia fused with happy-go-lucky indie which crossed all taste barriers. So far, so Scouser. Somehow eclipsed by bands like the Zutons, one wonders whether the Coral can still be said to have developed a sound that can be identified as their own; Singles Collection should answer this as CD1 gathers 14 songs, almost all of which have entered the UK's Top 75.

The Coral are famous for their tendency to adopt a laddish persona, one helped by the band being made up of six close friends who originally formed while still at school. This confidence can be heard in their music's easy swagger yet the band are not so arrogant as to call Singles Collection a Greatest Hits. Indeed, by packaging their singles on CD1 and then adding CD2 (Mysteries & Rarities) they are essentially offering a career overview with extra 'stuff' for fans. Thing is, in our age of iTunes fans of bands can compile their own 'Best Of' and it's the Mysteries & Rarities CD that will appeal to the band's most dedicated followers.

Mysteries & Rarities is more appealing in catching a more relaxed Coral, knocking out covers (Everbody's Talking, Reward, Bye Bye Love), offering up demos of songs now fan favourites, live recordings, instrumentals and previously unreleased material. But the accompanying CD booklet offers no notes from the band or essay by an enthusiast which, in this age of declining CD sales, is very poor service. To any casual listener The Coral are in danger of presenting themselves as pleasant if unessential, another band who like The Beatles or Captain Beefheart, yet lacked enough wit and imagination to really stake their claim to fame.

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