The Hang of Music: Echoes and echoes and echoes…

I would never usually try to review an album, listening to it on my laptop without a proper sound system. But I’m under the hammer, and these cans are Fenders, baby!

Also not helpful is my dad blasting Elbow, Broken Family Band and Show of Hands in the front. But I’ve got it tuned out with urban blues. Because really, that’s the best description I can find for The Coral.

Ladies and Gentlemen, “Roots & Echoes”.

I didn’t know how to review review this without mentioning the Zutons. So I decided not to try, and in fact I’m going to tackle it in this first paragraph. When I first heard The Coral (and whenever else I’m listening to them, to boot), I thought they sounded a lot like the Zutons, a contemporary if much more popular band. In all fairness, they really do.

A lot of these comparisons come from the darker, older-sounding and more acoustic sound of the instruments when they were recorded. Perhaps they were mixed by the same record company or sound engineer, or had the same producer. Or maybe they both had guitarists with similar tastes in amp effects. That would make a bit of sense.

One for reverb, and the other for decade.

But where the Zutons had a poppy, brass-borrowing sound, the Coral are much more low-key and back-bedroom sounding, and because of this, they come off sounding very 60s.

As has been the standard for the last few years, this sounds a lot like it comes right out of the 60s. The drumming is slow and includes a lot of tambourine, and on songs like “Fireflies” the guitar follows this 60s trend very noticeably.

I keep looking at the track titles and finding similarities to other songs: “Remember Me”, “Jacqueline”, “She’s Got A Reason”. This can’t be just me. Either they are picking some particularly over-used titles, or they’re doing this on purpose to annoy me. I hope it’s the latter. That’d be cool.

Musically, I like what’s going on. Their little musical shout outs to “Here Comes the Sun” on Jacqueline are nice, although I’d’ve though they would be better placed on the previous track, “Put Back the Sun”*.

And sometimes, on tracks like “Rebecca You”, I almost expect the violin to start soaring, like a Bond theme. Or like on a Divine Comedy song. Or a The Last Shadow Puppets song. Or both; I’d love if they did a collaboration. But I digress; that soaring aspect is a feature of the classic, retro 60s style that they, The Coral included, are going for.

They (The Coral, I mean) try to keep eveything a bit more low-key than that, but it seems a shame that they don’t take the bait even once to leap up and to something big and lifting. I get the feeling that that’s a conscious effort – I just don’t know why they would choose that.

Wait, what is this?… These lyrics… Gah! What is this? Brace yourselves guys, but I think I’m about to express an emotion other than rage: Sadness. This album has made me sad. “Not So Lonely”, a song about suicide, and “Cobwebs”, about the insecurities that pop out when you least expect them… what are you trying to do, The Coral? Make me cry?**

And this, along with the instrumentation (ish), is why I call them blues. And despite onrushing and unfamiliar “emotions”, though, I did enjoy their take on it. I kinda wish they’d cheer up a little, but that’s mainly so I can. “Fireflies” sounds lovely and deep and soulful. I don’t know if it is, but I choose to imagine that it is.

* You see what I mean?

** Well, I don’t have tear ducts, so that failed. Joke’s on you guys!


Posted on December 22, 2011, in Music, The Hang of Music and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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