Merseyside band The Coral have an impressive pedigree with twenty years of music making on the clock and a Mercury Prize nomination for their self-titled debut album of 2002 in the bag. They’ve also been the support act on tour for Blur, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys. ‘Distance Inbetween’ is their seventh album, much of it recorded as close to live as was possible, the focus being on the rhythmic strengths of the band. The current line up consists of James Skelly, Paul Duffy, Nick Power, Ian Skelly and ex-Zutons man Paul Molloy.
It isn’t often that on first listen you know you’ve stumbled across a belter, so this is a really exciting discovery. The album is infused, in fact positively steeped, with sixties and seventies influences. Opening track, ‘Connector’, has a relentless and slightly eerie guitar riff, “I’m the connector, you’re the receiver, you’re the rejecter, I’m the believer.” There are shades of mid-song Kasabian-like orchestral strains from the ‘Empire’ era. Then onto ‘White Bird’, very sixties with its bash, bash, bash drum beat and vocal harmonies. First single, ‘Chasing The Tail Of The Dream’, a tribal beat based track overlaid with a swerving guitar line reminiscent of The Cult, is about how a dream can take over, become distorted and start to control you rather than the other way round. It was the track that sparked the band’s reunion, James Skelly’s centrepiece being a big guitar solo. ‘Million Eyes’ is supposed to sound like “Hawkwind jamming with The Byrds” an impossibly perfect description of the end product. There’s some spontaneous improvisation at the end, which made the cut (with a bit of editing). ‘Miss Fortune’ next, tempting to call it pop perfection, except it’s better than that, “Oooh she’s a mover, and she moves in and out of time.” ‘Holy Revelation’, proper Led Zep 70’s rock, is the heaviest offering on the album, again with an unforgettable guitar hook, “Such a sweet sensation, a holy revelation”. So many of the tracks deserve a special mention and even the ‘End Credits’, with their reverberating and wobbling mellotron are wonderful and remind you of a bit of ‘Strawberry Fields’ distortion.
An enchanting mix of psychedelia, Mersey Beat and Indie, suffused with rhythmic melody, it’s a top class offering from The Coral, lacking a single skip track and perfectly judged to be intense without being too dark.
‘Distance Inbetween’ is out now on Ignition Records.
This The Coral article was written by Ellie Scott, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Samantha Melrose.