A robustly rooted comeback rears many heads
Everybody loves a comeback – just ask Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny – and after an amicable five year hiatus, genre-bending Liverpool outfit The Coral return with 8th studio album Distance Inbetween under Ignition Records.The Coral already has a laundry list of genres pinned to them, with Distance Inbetween adding a few more, particularly elements of stoner rock, a streak of mysticism and a sizable debt to Pink Floyd.
A heavier live album semi-inspired by The Beatles’ White Album, James and Ian Skelly (drums/percussion/vocals), Nick Power (keyboard/vocals) and Paul Duffy (bass/keyboards/vocals) are joined by Coral newcomer and guitarist Paul Molloy, an addition that helped flesh out the tracks and rejuvenate the band to a new confidence in the album’s ability to hold up and stand out against other efforts. Recorded in Liverpool in mostly one live take with co-producer Richard Turvey, Distance Inbetween is a bolder take on The Coral’s many musical hats, purposefully skewing on the minimal side with a stronger focus on centering the tracks around a rhythmical approach. The album is dedicated to Alan Wills, early mentor to The Coral and Deltasonic label boss who sadly passed away in 2014.
The album kicks off with “Connector,” a heavy handed, distorted track that shines as alternative rock incarnate, utilizing crooning harmony to add an ethereal element that doubles down on second track “White Bird” to great effect. “Chasing The Tail of a Dream” is a thunderous, rolling stomp that’s dripping in synth, providing the first burst of psychedelia aided by fuzzed out atmospheric guitar. Title track “Distance Inbetween” starts off with bright keys before diving into a lush Motown tinged soul ballad, with Skelly’s delivery unhindered and husky. About two minutes into the track the Floydian harmonics soar into a cathartic classic rock sound with a sprawling guitar that’s anchored down impeccably by measured percussion. “Million Eyes” draws back into crackling grunge, all foreboding chants with a mid-nineties essence. “Beyond the Sun” immediately employs tumultuous, tribal drumming and a constant build that feels like a talisman brought through battle; this song is an uphill charge to certain doom infused with rigorous optimism; it’s a rousing track.
“It’s You” conjures Bends-era Radiohead, a nice switch-up before “She Runs The River.” Though the synth and sci-fi strokes are evident, “She Runs The River” also hearkens back to the folksy side of The Coral, channeling Simon and Garfunkel in a fresh way while lonely guitar ambles through the background in a Western flourish.”Fear Machine” provides a riffy, blues infused palette cleanser in a punchy contribution that spirals off into an ethereal wind tunnel before narrowing down to a rolling guitar solo shot straight out of 1988. The album then melts into the the wistful, mellotron soaked closer “End Credits” in a stroke of stunning nostalgia.
“End Credits” is gorgeously sorrowful and striking; a salty chanty soaked in the old sea lore The Coral is so fond of. One can almost see the patchy flickering of old celluloid film as long dead names flash across the screen. It’s a soft, slightly theatrical farewell that basks in humility, a timeless wrap up for a band that is surely sticking around. The Coral found a way to return refreshed and ready, drawing from their roots while offering something new to their crowded catalog.