The Coral
The Coral



by monkey_dancer USER (2 Reviews)
June 1st, 2006 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

The debut album from barmy scousers The Coral is as enthralling as it is odd. Nautical references abound.

James Skelly - guitar , vocals
Ian Skelly - drums
Nick Power - organ ,vocals
Bill Ryder-Jones - guitar, trumpet
Lee Southall - guitar, vocals
Paul Duffy - bass , sax
John Duffy - Percussion

It starts with the strangely catchy 'Spanish Main', a song with ghostly harmonies and guitar work, introducing the album in a wonderful way. 3/5

The next song, I Remember When, is a haunting ballad, with added Russian-flavoured 'hey, hey' cossack section in the middle which is simply pure fun put onto a cd. 5/5

Shadows Fall is next, a spooky reggae song heavily reminiscent of The Specials' Ghost Town, similar to Spanish Main with its simple but very atmospheric guitar work. Fairly good song. 3.5/5

And next, in my opinion the highlight of the entire album, the ska tinged anthem about a breakup, Dreaming Of You, with a catchy bassline and Beach Boys-esque backing vocals. This song seems perfect, the melody, the bass, the organs all working together. The great thing in this is a prime example of how a guitar solo SHOULD be done, not complicated, but fitting completely with the mood and sound of the song. Not a show of technical expertise, but a true addition to this great song, which also boasts of the catchiest chorus I've heard in years. 6/5

Then, of course, a strange one. Simon Diamond is a bizarre song about a man turning into a tree. A typically haunting melody adorns the backing of folky finger-picked guitars and reggae organ. 3.5/5

The loud guitar at the beginning of Goodbye seems to herald a more standard rock direction, but is mostly misleading. The song has an odd barbershop quartet feel in the choruses, then it erupts into a distorted guitar solo, played in a hard rock style, which gives off an impression of being original for some reason, though it is perfectly ordinary in most aspects. It could simply that it is out of context, for the song seems unlikely to have a solo until one actually appears. 3.5/5

Waiting For The Heartaches has a great bassline which keeps the song moving, a xylophone-like instrument seems to be playing it as well. The title explains the theme of the song, which explodes into a faster, distorted guitar section towards the end. 4/5

Skeleton Key is the strangest song on the album. A squealing guitar heads this song, an absolutely insane wig-out, raspy vocals lending an evil air to the song, until it breaks down hauntingly, then suddenly restarts with screams. The end is very strange, but enjoyable, some quite random music and voices. 4.5/5

Many of the individual parts to Wildfire are great: the 'wooo' backing vocals, the brass, but they add up to a song fairly weak by the album's standard. 2.5/5

Bad Man sounds simply exciting, a fairly sparse musical backdrop with quite interesting guitar gives James Skelly a chance to really utilise his voice, amazingly raspy for a 20 year old, to make the song sound debauched and primal, the middle section is quite pointless, a slow bit with some talking, but it leads to a great guitar solo which sounds very like something from Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss). 3.5/5

Calendars And Clocks is really quite odd....A song which starts off with deep quiet, choir-like vocals and some nice tribal-sounding drumming and then goes to a very odd part, with brass, some hoo-hahs and then warbling 'oo-oo' vocals. It changes after that again into a bare section, one vocal, an acoustic guitar, drums, some bass and occasionally another guitar and a strange instrument adding something. Changing back to the main part again, more instruments are added, creating a complex web of sounds, until they fade away. 3/5

The secret song in Calendars and Clocks comes after a long pause, starting with just guitar and bass, then some brass, drums, repeating the same thing for quite a while. This fades to leave some reggae with a very odd instrument adding the occasional twang, then an odd guitar comes in, flange added. It doesn't change much for while until it enters a faster section, reggae based, with random parts added all the time and a very tradtional reggae 'never give up the fight' vocal refrain. 4/5 (this song isn't on the tracklist because on a cd it is still technically the same song as Calendars And Clocks)

This is a very impressive album, original, entertaining and sometimes just plain daft. But always tuneful and haunting. The singing is great, James Skelly having both a good grating voice and a softer voice. The harmonies are ethereal, adding a great vibe to the songs when needed, and can also be more normal (Dreaming Of You) and still effective. The organ work is suberb, adding to the texture to make a fuller sound, and it always complements the music as a whole. In short, no instrument on the album is ever wasted, everything is used together very well to create the great sound this album has.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
June 1st 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I was surprised when I found no reviews of this, or even any record of The Coral. I should probably review some other albums of theirs, just for the sake of having a complete (well no, but good) archive....No point letting things go without reviews. So everyone, stop reviewing the same things, and review something that hasn't been done, or if you can't be bothered, add a new band, even if there is no review. This Message Edited On 06.01.06

June 1st 2006


Good review but some of your descriptions for the tracks were a little short.

October 17th 2008


This album is amazing (& they havent topped it yet ), why does the coral have no recognition on this site?

February 9th 2009


Album Rating: 5.0

I believe Shadows Fall deserves a 5, since it basically resumes what the whole band means.

Your review was ok, for me this band is immense, shame they don't get the recognition they deserve.This Message Edited On 02.09.09

August 27th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

Nice job on the review. After playin the shit out of this thing the only song I can really go back to and listen to over and over again is Dreaming of You. I like the band's versatility on this album, but I thought the next couple after it fell short of the mark

December 1st 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Dreaming Of You is simply one of the best songs I have ever heard. So simple yet so memorable

February 8th 2015


Band needs more love on this site

March 23rd 2019


Album Rating: 4.0

Damn this one's under the radar here. This is fantastic indie neo-psychedelic rock in the British Invasion style, and "Dreaming of You" is legit one of the best god damn songs of the 2000s, utterly perfect little 60s love song with indie sensibilities.

Digging: Death Angel - Humanicide

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