The Coral - Move Through The Dawn
"We had a revelation of, we know where this is going to take us. And we were like, what if we scrapped it and we had to basically write an album that was the opposite?”
Talking to BBC 6 Music’s Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie, The Coral revealed that this album is not just the next in line, but a challenge set by themselves after the release (and success) of 2016’s Distance Inbetween.
Album opener ‘Eyes Like Pearls’ plays to all of the Coral clichés; dreamy sounding, hints of psychedelia and repeated references to bodies of water ("Eyes like pearls in the warmest seas, as deep as the ocean, as warm as the valley"). Stepping away from the gloomy sounds of previous albums, there really is a joyous summer buzz to this record. Guitar sets a steady, cheerful rhythm for even the saddest of lyrics (“I'm reaching out to find a friend, in a world where the troubles never seem to end”), tricking the senses into feeling upbeat while listening to James Skelly’s sad stories.
‘Strangers In The Hollow’ almost feels a little like something Belle and Sebastian would release, with the soaring strings and easy melodies. But it sits comfortably at home here with Skelly’s unmistakable vocals at the fore. The real highlight comes with ‘Sweet Release’, the lead single. This is The Coral at their best, on a par with the early singles that found their way into TV, film and advertising. The song is full of twangy guitar hooks and repetitive lyrics that are easy to sing along to: “I believe, I believe, I believe, I'm alone / I'm alone, I'm alone, I'm alone, I'm in love."
A lot has changed in the 16 years since the release of their self-titled debut. Always evolving and moving with the times, The Coral never fail to create something that’s really worth listening to. Although Move Through The Dawn is a leap away from their last few albums, it’s a jump in a familiar direction. The album attempts to take the group back to the roots (and echoes) that saw them launched to fame as NME darlings and Mercury nominees.
Their ninth studio album doesn’t quite have the magic of their early work, but it’s something special nonetheless. The challenge that they set themselves at the beginning of this project has well and truly been completed, and maybe one day those songs they scrapped will also see the light of day. A good effort from the Wirral’s finest.