Move Through The Dawn
A clever use of effects can really set your band apart but even with good writing it can end up pigeonholing you as well. For this release, The Coral try a bit of everything and end up playing off as more of a retro-revival than something distinct. This said, their strong writing makes the album’s more derivative moments disappointing while carrying its simpler ones.
Though its tones almost seem intentionally cheesy, there’s an unmistakeable romanticism to “Eyes Like Pearls” that keeps it fun. This said, it all ends up feeling a little more like a pastiche of late 70s rock than something truly original. “Reaching Out For A Friend” in this respect feels incredibly hokey although at times catchy. With its post-Beatles mix of sounds of hooks and effects just about every member of the Fab Four used, the track could fit in then but doesn’t hold up now. However the mix of electronics and suave grooves on “Sweet Release” start to see the band’s mastery of sounds come through powerfully on something modern and psychedelic. Using their inherently pop-centred writing, their eccentric instrumental directions feel a lot more fresh.
The Coral finally manage to blend their forward-thinking production to vintage writing on “She’s A Runaway” as they soar on CSNY-style harmonies. Unlike some of the derivative moments that start the record, they appeal to all their audiences without feeling like they pander. This doesn’t hold true for “Strangers In The Hollow” which ends up just feeling impossibly straightforward and strangely renaissance-fair-like at the same time.
A much finer balance is struck on songs like “Love or Solution” where the lines of inspiration are blurred just enough to feel unimportant and you get lost in the music. This gives a little more life to the lyrics and the sense of excitement the band throws at each chorus. Though it may be a more divisive track, “Undercover Of The Night” blends George Harrison influence with a modern ambient energy for a song that will soothe you to no end. Simple and warm, this track may seem one-note but really lands its feeling beautifully.
It’s hard to ignore the many rather dated flute sounds of “Eyes Of The Moon” but all the keyboards really end up giving the song its magical character. With this and its haunting vocal cries, the more standard bass drive of the track is easy to forgive. In a wash of downbeat guitars “Outside My Window” finds stomping beats giving The Coral a lot more room to play. As they create a sort of echo-chamber in their own sound, they’re able to make a song that thrives on its accessible core.
While you’ve certainly heard “Stormbreaker” in its many parts separately before, The Coral really turn these pieces into something lively. This mix of tone and storytelling makes for a song that mystifies while it makes you want to sing along. “After The Fair” hits too many of the album’s fallbacks however, as its acoustic sounds and familiar writing makes for a bland listen that undersells its lyricism.
Words by Owen Maxwell