It’s July 2010, a sunny day in Llandudno, Wales. A seagull is peering through the window wondering why there’s a figure perched on a hotel window ledge looking out to sea. The answer? Butterfly House by The Coral had just dropped and the review wasn’t going to write itself.
Fast forward eight years, another promenade and another window ledge. This time just a stones throw from Coral rule, New Brighton. It’s time for the first play of The Coral’s new album, Move Through The Dawn, out next month, August 10.
It’s an intriguing one. On the face of it you really don’t know what you’re in for, even with eye-popping artwork and power-pop lead single Sweet Release to play with. That said keeping you guessing is something The Coral have mastered these past few years, ever since springing ‘lost’ mid-noughties album The Curse Of Love on us in 2014. The heavier, thick dark riffs of critically acclaimed belter Distance Inbetween also came as a pleasant surprise two years later.
There’s nothing to suggest Move Through The Dawn will offer up any less re-invention than its predecessors. As a band The Coral have always been fans of re-invention and if anything they’re pushing that more and more in their recent output.
Opener Eyes Like Pearls will be familiar to some already, it dropped as the albums’ second single last week. It’s a buzzy little number that flows effortlessly, complete with a signature Coral chorus you’ll be humming and singing for years Sandwiched between the two singles is Reaching Out For Friend a joyous burst, that coupled with Sweet Release starts the record off amongst a sea of sun-kissed power pop.
There’s numerous nods to previous records throughout the albums middle numbers – the majestic She’s A Runaway transports you to the drifting world of Butterfly House, whilst Love Or Solution skips along, dancing through your ears, into your head and rolling out off your tongue in similar fashion to Distance Inbetween jaunt Holy Revelation. Closing out the middle run Strangers In The Hollow provides another highlight; awash with stunning strings joined by a stomping beat and great lyrics, a line of which provides the title to Nick Power’s accompanying book Into The Void.
The cascading acoustics and lush arrangements of Eyes Of The Moon and the stripped back tenderness and harmonies of Undercover Of The Night show off James Skelly’s softer side wonderfully, carrying us into heavier territory.
Outside My Window is a dip into fuzzier waters; psychedelic swirls of sunshine-pop, upfront about its intentions, a real force to be reckoned with, whilst stomping and prowling penultimate blow Stormbreaker offers the heaviest kicks and really brings out the best of Paul Molloy’s genius guitar work on its quest. It also provides the line “she breaks the storm, the rain surrounds her” – just one of a number of lyrical gems on this record that only further prove that when it comes to majestic, mystical and multi-dimensional songwriting imagery, James Skelly is one of the best around.
On Move Through The Dawn, The Coral are on top form. They’ve crafted a quite beautiful array of songs; some that nod to influences, some that nod to their own past and some that nod to the future. There’s real depth and flow to this record, making it a joy to listen to again and again, finding and hearing parts and lyrics you didn’t even know existed.
Welcome to the world of Move Through The Dawn, head into the void.
Review by Jake Marley