It's less than six months since Magic & Medicine and The Coral are back with another...
Trevor Lord 2002
It's less than six months since Magic and Medicine and The Coral are back with another collection of jangley splangley tunes. Don't call it their third album, 'cos it's not. Let's just call it a blast - which it most definitely is.
Recorded in 7 days, somewhere in the wilds of Wales, it packs 11 tracks into a joyously brief 28 minutes. And, as we've come from to expect from the Wirral wunderkinds, this album's got more variety than Heinz.
The album starts with the swirly and Doors like "Precious Eyes", then goes into the choppy funk of "Venom Cable". Next up it sounds like Mark E. Smith has joined the band, wielding a megaphone to the twisted rock-a-billy of "I Forgot My Name".
There's the moody and medieval sounding "Sound Of The Corn" and then there's the Kinks like "Auntie's Operation" - nice cowbell in that one - and the Snoopy G-Funk (honest!) of "Grey Harpoon". The list could go on, but why spoil the surprises.
Maybe some of the tracks are a bit throw away, such as the mock barber shop of the closing track "Lovers Paradise". But that's the point - we're not meant to be taking this (not real) album too seriously. The band certainly aren't.
That said the playing is never anything other than fab; you sense the band can make their instruments do whatever they like. Paul Duffy's bass is especially delicious, a precise delight. The lyrics, courtesy of James Skelley, have a surreal off-the-top-of-my-head feel, tinged with a healthy dose of morbidity. "I heard a commotion one late afternoon. Someone was singing a funeral tune", James intones on "Sound of the Corn".
This release could have sounded irritating and forced, but it doesn't...it's not wacky or self conscious - just fresh and exciting. And the Sons of Becker thing? The band claim to be the sons of randy tennis superstar Boris Becker...now that would be a turn up for the books.