October 23, 2023

The Coral - The Coral (2002)

*Japanese pressing. 
Contains 13 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative Rock
Style: Britpop
Label Number: EICP-164

© 2002 Epic Records
The Coral's self-titled 2002 debut kicked up quite a flurry of excitement when it washed ashore from the picturesque seaside village of Hoylake, a deep-water anchorage in the borough of Wirral. Not since the Beatles, or perhaps even Echo & the Bunnymen, has a young band from England's blustery western coast caused this much commotion. The album begins with a two-minute psych-rock sea shanty, "Spanish Main," which bursts forth with a frothy and joyous refrain. Along the way, the boys pick their way through somewhat-discarded flotsam and jetsam genres (mostly from the '60s), including 1964-era Merseybeat, horn-driven ska, fuzzed-out acid rock, and Brit-pop psychedelia. Other influences hailed from the West Coast of America -- the DoorsLovethe Beach BoysQuicksilver Messenger Service, and even the Banana Splits -- and some were even from the big city of London, like Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and the Action. "Shadows Fall" is where this adventurous tale really finds its sea legs; the Top 30 U.K. single features a mix of styles and sounds, including barbershop quartet vocals, Madness-style pop-ska, Russian Cossack folk, and a subtle Morricone-esque harmonica. The result is a bit jarring, but there's a fervent originality at work here, despite all of the referencing of the halcyon past. "Dreaming of You" is probably an even better example of what the Coral have to offer, with strong lead vocals, a tough Tamla beat, and suitably vintage organ humming underneath. "Simon Diamond" is effervescent 1967-style British psych, while the rambunctious "Skeleton Key" blends Zappa-esque guitars, serpentine Middle Eastern melodies, and flavorful horns. In addition to a massive heap of critical praise, the Coral also managed to connect with an audience who plunked down enough gold doubloons to help this album land in the U.K.'s Top Ten charts. For a debut, it's self-assured and the band are able to fold in a multitude of influences while in the end coming out sounding exactly like the Coral and no one else.

 tags: the coral, the coral album, 2002, flac,


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