ollowing Ray Manzarek and Ray Davies into the woozy headrush of the House Of Mirrors and meeting Boris Karloff by the Coconut Shy, The Coral send their latest broadcast from the shores of their own Coral Island with the release of Vacancy. Ahead of the release of their TENTH studio album on Fri 30 April 2021, the thrilling otherworld of the incomparable Merseyside five-piece welcomes guests to sample it’s myriad, melodic delights.
A crackling soundtrack for breezy nights by the sea, as the girls circle the boys in the glow of the North Pier amusements, Vacancy drifts effortlessly on Coral Island’s warm, salty air. A feature of the double album’s A-side, where the excited screams of summer holidays in full swing are heard across the island, keyboard player, Nick Power’s incisive organ riff carves a determined course through the band’s undulating swell of carefree melody.
James Skelly says: “We boarded a ghost train with T. S. Eliot, The Kinks and Karloff and we came out the other side with this baroque’n’roll organ riff ringing in our ears.”
Dousing the rule book in lighter fuel to make sure it burns, The Coral’s decision to make a vividly themed, double album in the modern, streaming age has it’s roots in long-held White Album ambitions, caravan holidays facing the cold Irish Sea and the macabre jukebox hits of a time before rock and roll. The inclusion of James and Ian Skelly’s 85-year-old grandad in the role of ‘The Great Muriarty’, the record’s narrator, has only added to the band’s reputation for finding the road less travelled and driving on the pavement.
The release of Vacancy follows the singles, Faceless Angel and Lover Undiscovered in mapping a route around Coral Island, a place of black and white photograph memories that might never have been. Remaining under wraps for now, Side-B of the album leaves the thrills of summer behind to face the doldrums of winter, where every room is for rent and the nights are as empty as the days.
An accompanying book will be released at the same time as Coral Island, written by Nick Power, with 20 new illustrations by drummer and frequent designer of the band’s album artwork, Ian Skelly. Over Coral Island, a 188 page companion piece to the music promises an energetically told, truthfully fictional account of places and people familiar to both the author and anyone who has felt the uneasy thrill of finding fun in Britain’s coastal towns.
Almost 19 years after the release of their celebrated, self-titled, Mercury Music Prize-nominated, platinum-certified debut in 2002, kick-starting a decade of classic singles, including Dreaming Of You (now on over 100 million streams globally and gaining UK Platinum status), Pass It On, Don’t Think You’re The First and In The Morning, The Coral have moved into 2021 as in thrall to the self-endowed gift of creative freedom as they were on day one. The band has sold over a million albums to date.
Of their nine albums to date, the last of which, Move Through The Dawn, was released in 2018, five have reached the Top 10 including 2003’s chart-topping Gold-selling Magic and Medicine which saw the band nominated for Best Group at the Brit Awards. Never anything other than wilfully idosyncratic and critically-praised, the follow-up, The Invisible Invasion reached No.3 in the UK Albums Chart and joins it’s predecessor in being certified Gold.
Recorded in a sense of barely-controlled, copy and paste chaos at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, Coral Island was written and performed by the multi-instrumentalist and multi-talented line-up of James Skelly, Ian Skelly, Nick Power, Paul Duffy and Paul Molloy plus Ian Murray.
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