England - Full Moon 74 - 10/21/02
Things are happening in Liverpool. During the last year a new generation of pop'n'rock kids
has come to the surface. A new wave? A re-newed music scene? Well, we must wait and see. Of
course it's been 'tagged' by the press already, as 'The Cosmic Scouse Scene'. Counting bands like
The Coral, pop band The Bandits (they run their own club - Bandwagon, the epicenter of the
"revolution" (?), and it's said that John Leckie volunteered to be their producer for free!),
Cranebuilders (a "Velvet Underground/Galaxie 500/Buffalo Springfield" combo with their own label,
Ten People Tall), The Crescent (said to be sort of a mixture of the La's, Love, and Captain
Beefheart!), The Zutons (label mates of The Coral, and described as Hank Williams meets Talking
Heads!?), the bluegrass duo Hokum Clones, ...guess the list is way longer. Let's stick to The
Coral, shall we?
The band formed in the mid 90's, when the lads were in their early teens. Fact is they're
between 18 and 21 today. We're talking young brats. Alan Wills (former drummer of Shack) picked
up the boys for his Deltasonic label, and they put out their first single last summer. Their Ian
Broudie-produced (Broudie's full of praise) debut album The Coral was released in July,
and was almost immediately nominated for the Mercury Music Prize (which they didn't win). Their
psychedelic beat-pop sounds fresh and soulful, even though their not revolting pop music. However
they've got a good ear for neat pop/rock tunes, and it seems quite obvious they've been through
a lot of records from the late 1960s.
"Dreaming of You" was released as their 5th single/EP a couple of weeks back, and is one of the
most catchy songs on the album. Almost perfect pop, clocking in at 2.16! Efficiency, right. In
fact most of the songs on the album are between 3 and 4 minutes long. I mentioned 60s inspiration,
right? Think Yardbirds and the Animals, with a slightly more psychedelic touch. Ever heard any of
the compilations released on the Bam Caruso label in the mid-80s, presenting more or less rare
and obscure pop-gems from the ebb of the 60s psychedelic Britain. [highly recommended, especially
The Psychedelic Snarl and The 49 Minute Technicolor Dream!] Some Coral songs sound
like they could've been included on one of those, such as "Simon Diamond", "Waiting For The Heartaches",
"Goodbye", and "Skeleton Key". Real garage-pop-sike goodies.
Most songs are written by lead vocalist/guitarist James Skelly and or organist/vocalist Nick
Power. By listening to The Coral you'll get impressed by their song-writing abilities.
Matured songs, melodically and lyrically. But also with a certain sense of humor, tongue-in-cheekish.
Being a bunch of young boys having fun, doing what they like the most. To quote bass player/sax-man
Paul Duffy: "We're not James Dean heroes. More like Luke
Skywalker; 'I'm a bit of a pussy but I've got a lightsaber'". A very fine debut album.
Copyright © 2002 Håvard Oppøyen