The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


The Coral
Butterfly House Julian Marszalek , July 14th, 2010 08:46

Like fresh air, central heating and a morning cuppa, it's easy to take The Coral for granted. Such was their prolific early burst of creativity – a new album arriving like clockwork with each successive year – that, oddly, it became surprising when they didn't release anything. Yet what's counted against The Coral isn't their intimate relationship with the concept of a melody or their ability to blend psychedelia with pop in a way that MGMT would dearly love to, but the fact that they've sailed against the prevailing wind of the 80s revival.

And all power to them. Not for them angular riffs, diluted detours into punk-funk or general vacuous posturing punctuated by rejected second albums but a consistent output that's as dependable as the combination of a packet of king sized skins and a decent connection. So here they are with album number six and a collection that easily stands up with the best of their output.

While Butterfly House may contain few surprises, what actually startles is that the band sound as if they're actually having fun with what they're doing. Recent single, '1000 Years', heralded as much. A joyous amalgam of lush harmonies, summertime haziness and kaleidoscopic vision, it served to remind that even if The Coral are unlikely to give the zeitgeist a deep wet kiss, there's still remains a sparkle in their eye that will forever draw attention to them.

What's also evident in these grooves is a growing sense of maturity. Granted, that's a word that's come to be debased in the same that way that rock'n'roll has by countless anaemic urchins but here The Coral are displaying a contemplative side that not only sits at odds with their previous preoccupation with salty pirates but, as evidenced on the quite lovely 'Roving Jewel', one that suits them well.

Of course, the album isn't without its flaws and the stirring closer, 'North Parade', an epic of wigged out guitars cut from the same cloth as forebear Will Sergeant, stands starkly against the honey-sweet nuggets that preceded it to suggest that a bit more pacing and texture wouldn't have gone amiss.

One suspects that The Coral are totally aware of their standing in the pop firmament, but what becomes clear as Butterfly House mooches towards its rose-tinted climax is that the band is simply happy to play on its own terms. This is no bad thing and by focussing on what they do best ensure that they'll survive long after today plat du jour has turned to mould.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.