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The Coral: Singles Collection

The Coral: Singles Collection

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Coral are, in many ways, an unsung British guitar band. Since their debut LP in 2002, they’ve recorded four studio albums and one unscripted B sides and rarities compilation, have notched up five Top Ten albums (including a No.1 for second album Magic and Medicine), enjoyed numerous hit singles, can count among their fans the likes of Noel Gallagher and Alex Turner and are still all in their 20s!

And yet try naming more than five of their singles? I couldn’t.

Their standout hit remains In The Morning, while other former favourites range from Dreaming Of You and Pass It On to Jacqueline.

Current single Being Somebody Else pretty much sums up their ability to write sharp melodies laced with retro, almost Kinks-style sensibilities, and a kooky sense of humour.

Fans reading this will doubtless wonder why we’ve been missing out for so long… after all, we’re simply regurgitating what they, Noel Gallagher and the NME already know.

But greatest hits compilations aren’t so much aimed at the fans as the catch-up brigade or newcomers. Hence, this overdue Singles Collection promises to open the ears and hearts of anyone who hasn’t been brave enough to previously venture out and buy a collection of their work. And the rewards are plentiful (for yours included).

Aside from the obvious picks (previously mentioned), further recommendations come in the form of Put The Sun Back, Who’s Gonna Find Me and Liezah, all of which demonstrate what a great British band The Coral have consistently been.

Mysteries And Rarities

I know we mentioned that greatest hits compilations more often than not reward newcomers more than die-hard fans, but in the case of this double CD, The Coral appear to have catered for both.

The bonus disc is therefore the real reason for owning it for long-term fans and due reward for their loyalty.

It’s comprised of 19 – yep, 19 – rare, previously unreleased and live offerings that further underline The Coral’s songwriting quality.

Quite often, you’ll be scratching your head and wondering just why they haven’t been released earlier.

Album opener When All The Birds Have Flown, an out take from the Roots And Echoes recording session that’s been previously unreleased, is a stone-cold classic. And it’s only right that it should finally see the light of day.

An 8-track demo of Cobwebs is another gem, as is the psychedelic Simon Diamond, presented in its original version.

A cover version of The Beautiful South’s Everybody’s At Me, recorded live on the Isle of Man, is another firm favourite, while an early demo of It’s In Your Hands, recorded before The Coral were signed in 1999, showcases an as-yet undiscovered talent. It’s steeped in retro qualities but screams out quality.

Final track Bye Bye Love, another cover of a well-known classic (this time from the Everly Brothers) and recorded once more on the Isle of Man, is a brilliant way to bring things to an end – a sing-along celebration that leaves you with a beaming grin.

Throughout this Singles Collection, though, the quality screams through and it’s a wonderful collection to own for any fans of British guitar music.

Download picks: When All The Birds Have Flown, In The Morning, Put The Sun Back, Being Somebody Else, Dreaming Of You, Pass It On, Bye Bye Love, It Was Nothing, Simon Diamond, Everybody’s Talking At Me

Track listing:
Disc 1:

  1. Dreaming of You
  2. In the Morning
  3. Pass It On
  4. Don’t Think You’re the First
  5. Jacqueline
  6. Secret Kiss
  7. Goodbye
  8. Shadows Fall
  9. Liezah
  10. Who’s Gonna Find Me
  11. Bill McCai
  12. Put the Sun Back
  13. Something Inside of Me
  14. Being Somebody Else

Disc 2:

  1. When All The Birds Have Flown outtake from Roots and Echoes – previously unreleased
  2. The Golden Bough – new track from recent studio session
  3. Michael’s Song – new track
  4. Cry of the City – new track recorded in practice room
  5. Everybody’s Talking At Me – live from Isle of Man
  6. Far From the Crowd – live from Elevator
  7. She’s Got A Reason – live from elevator
  8. Return Her To Me – outtake from Magic and Medicine previously unreleased
  9. Monkey To The Moon – outtake from The Invisible Invasion previously unreleased
  10. It Was Nothing – ‘Help’ charity album recording
  11. Cabwebs – 8 track demo
  12. Simon Diamond – original version
  13. Shadows Fall – 4 track instrumental demo
  14. Calendars and Clocks – demo
  15. Seagulls – previously unreleased track, Lee on vocals recorded in Ian’s bedroom
  16. Dreaming of You – demo
  17. It’s In Your Hands early demo from before The Coral were signed. Recorded 1999
  18. Reward – live version, supporting Echo and the Bunnymen in Liverpool
  19. Bye Bye Love live from Isle of Man