This year marks 20 years since The Coral released their debut single Shadow Falls. In that time they’ve transformed from a bunch of effervescent lads from The Wirral into, if not quite elder statesmen, veteran stalwarts, not to mention giving one of our best songwriters, Bill Ryder-Jones, his initial platform. There’s a lot to take in on Coral Island, the band’s 10th record.
The Coral have built a catalogue that stands entirely on its own merits. Moving from the frenetic hype that dominated their debut to their current status as Mersey evergreens, what binds each album to the next is the often subtle power of their songwriting, tapping into intimate feelings while etching those emotions in a singular, immediately recognisable manner. 'Coral Island' is the band's first album in three years - each member remains frenetically busy as a solo artist and collaborator - and it is perhaps their most ambitious to date.
Ever since Mark Sheridan's I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside became a music hall staple in 1909, a thread of popular music, from folk through to David Essex, Morrissey and beyond, has been drawn to the kitsch glamour of English coastal towns.
On their 10th album, The Coral give this tradition a distinct twist. Coral Island, a double record, recounts the faded glory of an imagined funfair isle.