Label: Run On Records
Released: 7th May 2021
In a world where everybody is always impatiently looking for the Next Big Music Thing, sometimes it’s ok to have something comforting to rely on. So it is with The Coral, twenty years and ten albums into a career that has had a trajectory like a bumblebee, happily wandering wherever it wants to go as it does its thing and pays the rest of the world no mind.
A band that have always seemed to inhabit a world of their own making on each record, it’s something of a surprise that ‘Coral Island’ marks their first ‘theme album’. Taking place in a fictional time and place where nostalgia seems to be happening while you live it, it’s 24 tracks of meandering vibes that bounce between sunny and melancholy, all tied together in some slightly off-kilter dialogues supplied by the Skelly brothers’ grandad. Sure, there is the odd bit of filler as you’d expect. But tracks like’ My Best Friend’ and ‘Vacancy’ are The Coral at their best, the sort of folksy indie-pop that they’ve been knocking out for two decades.
Will it set the world on fire? No, of course not. But that’s not the goal here. As much an escape to yesterday as it is a nostalgic flight of fancy, there is, probably deliberately, nothing really new or shiny from The Coral here – no surprise for a band that never seemed that interested in the shiny and new even in their earliest days. What there is, though, is a band that is still at their happiest exploring, and letting everyone else into, their own strange little world. Long may it continue.