The Coral - Nightfreak & The Sons Of Becker

The Coral made a lot of money through sales of their second album Magic & Medicine, which soared to the top of the album charts and propelled the young scallywags headfirst into the mainstream. It was no surprise that Magic & Medicine was an over-produced, radio-friendly Merseybeat case study.

Taking a break between touring and recording their third album, the band decide to record another album bizarrely enough, and just as most bands would have taken a well-earned rest The Coral release Nightfreak & The Sons Of Becker, a curious little oddity of a limited album.

Recorded in a week in remote North Wales, the eleven tracks would struggle to hold a place as many bands’ b-sides, and yet culled together this twenty-eight minute cauldron somehow chants voodoo and resurrects Syd Barrett from the dead. There’s a stark charm to the stripped-down, lo-fi approach that the band adopt, and the album sounds far more cohesive when compared to the collection of radio-players that was churned out before. It’s clear that the band prefer to sound like Piper At The Gates Of Dawn Floyd than Gerry And The Pacemakers.

At times, Nightfreak & The Sons Of Becker can be too impromptu for its own good. Why Does The Sun Come Up? is an annoying half-minute interlude that thankfully doesn’t go on any longer, and the reduced-volume and added vinyl-hiss of final track Lover’s Paradise is too quaint to warrant inclusion. Still, the rhythm chords are the punchiest yet from the band, and Precious Eyes is good enough to fit on any Coral album.

Lyrically, it’s banal. Musically, it sounds like it was written AND recorded in a day, rather than a week, and yet somehow Nightfreak & The Sons Of Becker works in an inspired fashion. It might turn off all of the listeners who were attracted via Magic & Medicine, and yet somehow you sense that this was The Coral’s plan all along.

Overall

7

out of 10

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