ALBUM REVIEW: The Coral ‘The Curse of Love’

You can’t exactly call it a ‘new album’, because that’s a bit of a lie. Recorded back in 2006, The Coral set about recording 12 tracked album The Curse of Love, and eight years later have decided now is the time for the ‘lost LP’ to be released. Sandwiched in between 2005’s release ‘The Invisible Invasion’ and 2007’s ‘Roots & Echoes’, the now five piece, retreated to their home studio to produce the far more darker, gloomier, psychedelic tinged record. The album strikes a different more melancholic chord for the brighter indie-pop sound that The Coral have seemingly perfected.

‘The Curse of Love’ is book ended with album titled tracks part one and two, that share the same chorus, yet manage to evoke completely different feelings. Part One sets the mood for the rest of the 40 minute record, with a more spoken word feeling, that’s soft yet surprisingly engrossing. The opening track verges on older folk psychedelic storytelling, with gentle minimalist instrumentation and repetitive somber string motifs, whereas part two rounds the record off with an oddly new flamenco styled crescendo, ending the album on a different note entirely.

There is an undeniable consistency through-out the record, as the depressive, romanticised depiction of an autumnal psychadelia continues. Stand out tracks include ‘Gently’ with its dream like haziness, and almost Lennon esque flavours with pretty piano motifs and hazier electric guitar sounds. Fourth track ‘Second Self’ is entirely instrumental, allowing a break from lead singer James Skelly’s somewhat dulcet tones and makes room for more focused instrument experimentation and repetitive patterns. Track ‘The Golden Bough’ stands out as the only more upbeat of the album, with even the tone of Skelly’s vocals seemingly picking up from the latter eeriness as he sings “Only see you in the summertime, when the weathers fine. You disappear when the cold wind blows, creep inside my mind”. The album on a whole, however, doesn’t hold the new version of The Corals catchier ‘Dreaming of you’ and instead offers the feeling of a band who were entirely focused on depicting a moodier, mature feeling with consideration to the maintenance and development of their folk psychedelic sound. Some odd production choices are heard in tracks ‘Wrapped in Blue’ and ‘You closed the door’ as the band play with strange wavering synths creating a mediocre folk sound that doesn’t quite reach the mark.

The Curse of Love does have a refreshing distinction from their previous works, however doesn’t seem to sit quite comfortably with their well known sound and catchier pop hooks that made The Coral so enjoyable. It comes as an odd direction for the English band, only made that little bit more intriguing knowing it was a sound created 8 years previous. The plodding along, lack of anthemia matched with a distinctive lack of lift comes as an attempt that seems a little bit effortless, and leaves you wanting a bit more from The Coral.

Katie Muxworthy

Katie Muxworthy

Mainly write and talk shite.
Katie Muxworthy

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