Not since Fishbone has a band dared tinker with the boundaries of underground sounds with such reckless abandon. Often as off-beat and eclectic as Los Angeles’ seminal funk-ska soldiers, The Coral’s self-titled album is quite an achievement given how aggressive the band is in maintaining such a motley brew. One minute they are as raw and soulful as The Pietasters, and the next they’re surprisingly genuine in their ability to revive the haunting psychedelic rock epics of the ‘70s.
The Coral are just as goofy and quirky as nearly every third-wave ska band that formed and disbanded over the past decade, but fortunately they are so much more. Wild organs, choral rants, rambling guitars, walking bass lines, horns and reverb aplenty, The Coral’s disc often brings to mind the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, who once bravely attempted to blend a variety of styles before settling into the resurgent swing scene.
More than anything though, the tracks found on The Coral’s premiere effort present the listener with a bold mixture of Jefferson Airplane, early (and I mean early) Scorpions, The Stray Cats and The Scofflaws. Diverse enough for you?
What I really want to know is how in the hell does a group of 18- to 21-year-olds from England put their finger on these sounds with such perfection and success? It truly is astonishing, especially when you consider that none of these guys were alive in the ‘70s, nor were they even present during the two-tone movement brought to life by such British acts as The Specials and Bad Manners.