The Coral - Magic & Medicine
The Coral might seem self-consciously 60s, but at the same time Magic and Medicine shows they have plenty of imagination. The backing-track to Don’t Think You’re the First could be the theme to a forgotten spaghetti western, while Eskimo Lament turns from simple song to funereal march (with brass) at the halfway mark, and Confessions of A.D.D.D gathers a sudden unexpected speed towards its climax.
However, their most straightforward songs tend to be the best. In the Forest conjures a suitably mysterious atmosphere with dark stabs of organ, its lyrics hinting at a ghostly girl (and, possibly, mushroom consumption). Single Pass it On is gorgeous, and Liezah, while not as brief, is in a similar vein.
Full of ideas The Coral might be, but thankfully they never descend to aimless noodling. At 38 minutes long and featuring eleven tracks, nothing on Magic and Medicine really outstays its welcome.
My main problem with the band, then, is they are often easier to admire than love. If they drop more of the quirkiness - and wear their influences of blues and psychedelia a little less obviously - they will someday make a more satisfying album.