The Coral on day Two of the BBC 6 Music Festival in Liverpool, recorded by the inimitable BBC 6 Music, live from the stage. Second day of this stellar gathering of musicians – continuing with a standout set by The Coral, who are regarded (and rightly so) as hometown heroes, being locals and part of the Merseyside scene since 1996.
In 1996, school-friends Ian Skelly and Paul Duffy began jamming together in the basement of Flat Foot Sams pub in Hoylake. Over the following months they were joined by Bill Ryder-Jones on lead guitar, Ian’s older brother James Skelly on vocals and main songwriting duties, and then Lee Southall on rhythm guitar. The band were known briefly as Hive before choosing the name “The Coral”, and the line-up was completed with the addition of Nick Power, who joined as keyboard player in 1998
Hailed as the first English band of the “guitar group revival”, the band’s first release was the single “Shadows Fall” (2001), which was followed by two EPs The Oldest Path EP (2001) and Skeleton Key EP (2002). Their eponymous debut album The Coral, released in 2002, reached number five on the UK Albums Chart and was nominated for the Mercury Prize the day after its release. A successful UK tour and festival slots followed along with the singles “Goodbye” reaching number twenty-one in the UK Singles Chart and “Dreaming of You” reaching number thirteen. The single “Dreaming of You” was included in the United States sitcom “Scrubs” episode My Monster. The Coral also performed “Dreaming of You” live on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
After a hectic year they recorded Magic and Medicine in 2003, which reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and garnered critical praise. The album was largely made up of dreamlike acoustic ballads rather than the aggressive psychedelia of their debut. They followed the release with UK, European, American and Japanese tours and a one-off festival Midsummer Nights Scream, held in a big top on the New Brighton promenade. The support for this event included a line up of up-and-coming bands, such as The Libertines, The Zutons and The Thrills. Singles from the album, “Don’t Think You’re the First”, “Pass It On”, “Secret Kiss” and “Bill McCai” reached number 10, 5, 25, and 23 respectively on the UK Singles Chart.
Next, the Coral quickly recorded the mini-album Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker. Released in early 2004 with little promotion and no accompanying singles, it was also included as a bonus disc with US versions of Magic and Medicine. Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker marked another change in direction for the band, showcasing a darker, funkier and more lo-fi sound.
In a March 2012 interview, bassist Paul Duffy reported that a new album was in progress at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bristol, stating that the sound was a lot heavier: “It’s very layered, it’s like you have one thing and you just keep adding things on top, and it just sounds big cause we’ve gone in as a six piece.” In spring 2012 the band announced an indefinite hiatus in order to concentrate on individual projects. Their half-finished seventh album was shelved.
In April 2018, the band announced their ninth studio album Move through the Dawn, released in 10 August, 2018. It was recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios and was produced by the band and Rich Turvey.
Sit back, hit the play button and crank it up – you’re in the right place.