As most of us keen on observing the music industry know every couple of years something
becomes retro and The Spectacle latches onto it and dry humps
everyone’s ear drums with it ad nauseam. The 80’s* made an unfortunate
comeback a couple years ago – it started when jelly bracelets, fuschia
(you know, that disgusting 80’s shade of pink?) and leg warmers began
to infiltrate fashionistas in world cities like London, Dublin and NY –
slowly filtering down into the rest of the major cities of western culture.
This was of course accentuated by music – first The Darkness (blah)
made hair metal a viable top forty threat again, next teenagers were
walking around with Cinderella T-shirts and belts all over every part
of their outfits except where needed most (keep those pants UP!). Even
the indie movement got caught up in 80’s rehash for a time with the Electro
clash/trash movement, although of course for hipsters the danger of
looking like a douche bag fresh from Scott Valentine’s stand-in trailer
could always be smoothed over by the ‘it’s IRONIC and you
just don’t get it’ poise that hipster douche bags always keep on-hand.
Some good things do come out of these re-hashings on occasion. Mostly
not, but sometimes… either way, like it or not the Spectacle will
always be hip to re-treading familiar and often unpleasant ground. My
younger cousin and I recently grimaced at the idea that (and it’s not
too far away, let me tell you) soon the 90’s will return, complete with
waist-tied flannels, baggy-as-fuck jeans and probably about 45 new
Nirvana greatest hits albums**.
Ugh. Then I’ll feel old.
Meanwhile however, altruistic musicians the world over continue to read
and listen to the body of work that has preceded them, grafting their
periods of interest and interest into new and exciting sounds that,
often while harboring a throw-back sound to this era or that, manage to
not sound forced or pointless, marketed or contrived.
Ah, my lengthy and soap-boxish lead in has finally bore(d) fruit. Tell me dear reader, have you ever heard the band THE CORAL?
What can one say about these ridiculously gifted young men from England
other than they are first rate songsmiths and AMAZING musicians? I first got turned onto The Coral’s
60’s-ish guitar driven
psychedelia the night I met my wife, also a music fanatic and snob, who
insisted I go out right away and buy their eponymous debut. I did and
much like that wonderful girl who has changed my life, it has been love
ever since. Only with the Coral something weird happened.
I kinda forgot about them.
I know, I know, how can you love a band’s music and forget to listen to
them? I don’t know. I go through my phases with genres and artists and
their offshoots, blah blah blah, but in the three years since moving to
LA I do not think I have listened to a single Coral song. It’s as if
their three-album space in our very frequented and
alphabetical-by-author CD cabinet (one of several) simply became
invisible for a couple years. Again, I don’t know why. This is the kind
of thing that usually follows a falling out between myself and a group
I ‘once-liked’, sort of like my nearly decade-long banishment of the
good Smashing Pumpkins album*** to the corner of one of the shelves
that I discussed here late last year. But The Coral – as I’ve said,
their music is amazing and there are no integrity issues that I’ve ever
been aware of, so I just don’t know.
Why are they so damned ‘amazing’ that I have to keep saying it over and
over again, like a twelve-year-old staring at a jonas brothers poster?
The Coral are another in the lineage of British rock that seems
wonderfully capable of building firmly on ground first broke by bands
like The Beatles, The Who and Led Zeppelin in many of our parents’
generation, Oasis, The Verve and Blur in my own and perhaps more modern equivalents such as The Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and The Duke Spirit. As with all good
British rock bands the influence of their lineage is there, but not
pronounced. This isn’t The Strokes imitating their favorite Tom Petty
riffs or Mika trying oh so hard to record a new Queen album. The Coral’s sound is a vivid and endearing mixture of The Animals,
The Kinks and maybe a little Question Mark and the Mysterians (who, for the record, I know are not British) mixed in with what I’m sure is the personalities of the musicians comprising the group. The point is they throw back a bit but only while pitching forward with a hell of an arm at the same time.
Last night while hanging out with my wife I went to the aforementioned cabinet of compact discs to pick out some music for the ol’ five-disc changer, and it was as if, although
filed alpha-by-author under ‘C’ I was suddenly noticing The Coral again for the
first time in a long time. The other discs’ spines disappeared into a premonition-like fog and I suddenly began to salivate thinking about hearing these guys again. I procured from the shelf their 2005 album The Invisible Invasion and
gave it a spin – and then subsequently about two more spins over the
course of the evening. This morning I’ve been listening to them for hours now and have been somewhat set at ease to find I’ve only missed one album, 2007’s Roots & Echoes, which I will no doubt purchase shortly.
If you love rock music, let me rephrase that, if you love good rock music, The Coral is a win-win situation my friends. Go on over to Itunes and check out the Track LIEZAH from 2003’s Magic and Medicine or CRIPPLES CROWN from Invisible Invasion. Or go check out the snowcat and the radio – either way, if you’ve not heard The Coral or are stranded in a Colorado hotel with a guy named Jack, you’ve got a big surprise coming to you!
* Seriously, those of us who lived through the 80’s spent the 90’s
trying to forget about the musical and fashion genocide that was the
epitome of the mainstream during that torrid time of Dick, I mean Dice
Clay, Motley Crue and camouflage leg warmers. Why would anybody want to
bring it back? I thought for a while that the entire world had been
moved back in time, a point I argued vehemently with close friends
about. I don’t know if I would still support that theory, it
doesn’t really matter anymore, but I will say the day the space shuttle
exploded in February 2003 more than one of those friends called me to
nervously acquiesce to the theory that they had previously scoffed at.
** I’m sure miss love is counting the days until she can cash in on that one.
*** There’s only two and as I’ve said before I won’t re-buy Gish and
line that dickhead’s pockets with anymore money for him to blow at the