The Coral @ The Level, Nottingham, UK, 18th March, 2022,
Mar 31, 2022
Photography by Mark Moore
Now in their 25th year of existence, The Coral are something of a national institution having initially formed back in 1996. Since those formative years, they’ve put out ten albums, a handful of EPs and a plethora of singles. Many of those songs becoming long term staples on radio playlists up and down the land and far beyond as well. So it’s kind of fitting that we’re here this evening to celebrate The Coral’s self-titled debut, a record that undoubtedly placed the band on the map as an excitable curiosity. Defying all attempts at genre specification or following any given trend, The Coral is a record that still stands proud today while also managing to sound like nothing else released before or after (including its many of its creators’ subsequent recordings).
Indeed, it’s that continual surge to broaden horizons and push barriers that’s ensured The Coral’s longevity and relevance lasts well into the band’s third decade, even if the band members themselves have gotten a little older and wiser over time. Initially released in July 2002, The Coral fused sea shanties, psychedelia, folk, and even irreverent bursts of lo-fi punk among its smorgasbord of ideas, making it something of a unique anomaly but one that introduced something new with every subsequent listen. Of course, band members have come and gone since the record’s release nearly twenty years ago yet siblings and founder members Ian and James Skelly (drums and guitar/vocals respectively), bassist Paul Duffy and long serving keyboard player Nick Power remain from the band’s earliest incarnation as recording artists, alongside most recent acquisition, guitarist Paul Molloy who joined the band seven years ago.
Nevertheless, revisiting these songs – many for the first time in decades – did provide a hint of nostalgia for those of us out front, if not for the players on stage. Indeed, the near fifteen minutes long assault on “Goodbye” midset – a song that’s featured regularly in the band’s live sets throughout their careers and taken several twists, turns and guises along the way – suggests their mood is as playful as ever. Using these shows as an opportunity to reinvent their debut while dropping hints where their next sonic excursion might take them, it’s fascinating to think these songs were originally created then constructed by a group of fresh faced teenagers. “Shadows Fall” and “Skeleton Key” still send shivers down spines for differing reasons. The former due to its haunting melody and simple but effective narrative, the latter thanks to its Beefheart-meets-Zappa in a Birkenhead basement mix and match approach that confounded listeners back in the day and manages to do the same this evening.
While their experimental side has earned them a multitude of plaudits from critics and fellow musicians as well as a loyal and devoted fanbase, The Coral’s uncanny knack for writing emotive and catchy hit singles isn’t lost either. “Dreaming Of You” remains arguably their most instantly recognisable song, its lyrics gleefully sang back word-for-word by the 1200 strong throng this evening.
Playing two sets this evening, the chronological run through of The Coral is followed by a ten-songs selection of hits, rarities and live favourites. Second album Magic and Medicine is represented early on by a caustic “Bill McCai” and customary singalong “Pass It On”, while both “Faceless Angel” and “Lover Undiscovered” off last year’s Coral Island long player are delivered in exquisite fashion. Providing a timely reminder why The Coral remain vital in the present day. Elsewhere, “In The Morning” and set closer “Arabian Sand” off 2005’s The Invisible Invasion remind all and sundry why every juncture of their quarter century journey has been a riveting ride, as was the welcome inclusion of “1000 Years” off 2010’s somewhat overlooked Butterfly House.
Nevertheless, tonight was a celebration of The Coral’s first chapter and in small parts, the nine that followed thereafter. Here’s to the next instalment!
|Title||:||The Coral - Dreaming Of You|
|Type of file||:||Audio/Video (.mp3 .mp4)|