It would have been understandable if you had written off The Coral. A series of mind-numbingly boring albums followed the genius of debut The Coral and its follow up Magic And Medicine and then the man behind their unique, slightly pyschedelic sound, Bill Ryder-Jones left to do his own thing which too many marked the end. However, The Coral have upped their game spectacularly on Distance Inbetween, signalling a return to the sound the fans fell for 14 years ago.
Opening track Connector combines the dark pysch sound of the band with the robotic vocals of James Skelly, sounding remarkably Dave Gahan-esque. The monotony of the song is genius and where the charm lies; the simplicity of the sound allows the lyrics to shine through and the songwriting is to be admired. White Bird follows the same formula excepts increases the tempo, increasing the tension in the process and making it feel like the best is yet to come, a promise which is kept. A dangerous sounding riff and a pounding drum welcome Chasing The Tail Of A Dream before the drum takes the lead, providing the soundtrack to lyrics such as “shifting in the sleepless nights / Turning the pages of a wasted life”.
Million Eyes is the of the stand out tracks of the album; fuzzy guitars and group vocals mark a change in the style of the album, particularly when dramatic second long pauses are thrown in at random points, building drama before the next lines are uttered. Miss Fortune sees the pysch element dismissed in favour of a more indie tone and breezy lyrics of “she’s a woman and she moves in and out of time” give a summery, ethereal feel to the song. The opening twenty seconds are worth listening to Holy Revelation for alone; the sexy strum of the guitar belies the religious theme to the title and the drum beat is paired with it to prefection, making the song the best one on the album. Fear Machine heralds a modern influence seeping through into their sound with the nonchalance and snarkiness of the vocals being trademarks of fellow northerner Miles Kane.
There are moments when the band slow it down and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Title track Distance Inbetween, with its slow sway and opening piano feels a little like a left field Bond theme, although one preferable to the dull Sam Smith offering. All in all though, the kaleidoscopic feel to the album is the thing that is remembered when the album is over. Ryder may have left the band but his influence has remained but just took a while to show itself. That is not to lessen the things that the rest of the band bring with their simple lyrics and innovative sound. All that is left to say is welcome back boys.
For fans of: Doves, The Charlatans, Supergrass
Words by Clara Duffy
‘Distance Inbetween’ by The Coral is out now on Ignition Records.