The Coral

Singles Collection

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9 / 10 You must be doing something right when both Noel Gallagher and Alex Turner think you’re the bee’s knees. The Coral have spent most of this decade knocking out tunes which have rightly given them a reputation as one of the UK’s most durable, forward-thinking outfits. Their influence is widely acknowledged, even though their commercial peak passed a while ago. It seems hard to comprehend now, but The Coral’s second album, 2003’s ‘Magic And Medicine’, went straight to Number One in the UK charts.

This compilation (though not strictly a singles collection – where is ‘Skeleton Key’? And ‘Liezah’ is a lovely Simon And Garfunkel homage, but it, er, wasn’t a single) provides a welcome reminder of the band’s delicate, understated genius. The Merseybeat rocker ‘Dreaming Of You’ and the wistful, country-flavoured ‘Pass It On’ remain two of the best singles this millennium – as well as being superb tunes, they illustrate that frontman and lyricist James Skelly has a heart as big as a lion.

Elsewhere, the psychedelic put-down ‘Don’t Think You’re The First’, the fuzzed-up garage rocker ‘Goodbye’ and the stylish schizophrenia of 2001 debut single ‘Shadows Fall’ show that the group took their inspiration from many different places but have always sounded like themselves.

If you’re not already acquainted, this is the ideal starting point. If you are, then the accompanying second CD’s raft of unreleased tracks, rarities and covers adds appetising depth. Either way, this is Mersey paradise.

Alan Woodhouse

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