The British Are So Cool
It's hard to say what it is about the British that makes their music so appealing. Whatever it is, The Coral have got it by the boatload. Their self-titled debut album is about as hip and catchy a set of rock tunes as you'll hear these days. On some tracks, like the ballad "Dreaming of You," they evoke a British-invasion bluesy kind of sound, their vocalist recalling Eric Burden of the Animals. They have a wonderful ear for pop music, with some of their songs almost too cute in that Elvis Costello kind of way. But The Coral are far from a one trick pony -- they don't restrict their own creativity simply sticking to tight three-minute hits. The band likes to mix up its style, with more aggressive rock tunes like "Skeleton Key" pointing to influences in everything from their own seaside roots to psychedelia, folk, surf guitar and klezmer. They take full advantage of their size and instrumental capabilities, using complimentary guitar arrangements, dense harmonies, sparse horns, and perky electric organ. While this may be appealing to some, the variety of original material on the album and the hectic mix of styles could easily come off as a little immature to others. For a band of six, it should come as no surprise that the arrangements can sometimes get a little chaotic. Just the same, they remain incredibly tight, and the band rarely seems like they're overextending themselves or showing off. Rather, it just sounds like they're doing what comes naturally, and having a lot of fun doing it. And that may be what really saves The Coral. They made a real ensemble album with a lot of energy, managing to be sincere while not too sentimental. Could just be an Anglophile's record of the summer.