CONSISTENCY is not the sexiest trait in rock’n’roll but it has given Wirral indie veterans The Coral an enviable longevity, with album after album of appealing melodic hooks. Like the Charlatans, they are one of the great beloved northern bands who have retained their fertile streak and their vociferous, loyal following without ever being the main attraction.
The Coral, Oran Mor, Glasgow ****
Acolytes of 60s pop, psychedelia and rhythm’n’blues, yet never tired revivalists, they can still project a collective cool. Singer James Skelly is possessed of such northern soul that he can just about get away with wearing shades indoors. He was flanked by charismatic guitarist Paul Molloy, who has steered the band into some heavier waters since joining the line-up four years ago, and affable bassist Paul Duffy, whose subtle but penetrating harmonies represent the spirit of the group.
The Coral have played larger stages in their time but this sold out basement club venue proved to be the ideal environment in which to revel in their 60s beat roots, as flaunted from the off via the strong garage groove of Sweet Release and the straightforward strum of Outside My Window from current album Move Through the Dawn as well as the heavy psych rocker Chasing the Tail of a Dream.
It was refreshing to know that someone is still prepared to unleash such patchouli-scented hoodoo in the 21st century. Psychedelic rock is a subculture which refuses to die, but The Coral tool it with a brisk, almost business-like delivery.
There was no flannel in their joyous, wide-ranging set, which encompassed many of their former singles, from the bittersweet paean to Jacqueline, via the west coast psychedelia of 1000 Years and the blithe, disarmingly catchy Pass It On to the glorious In The Morning, with its simple, insidious eight note refrain.
Their faithful but fitting cover of The Yardbirds’ Heart Full of Soul sat comfortably next to their own She’s a Runaway, which invoked the spirit of The Zombies, and Bill McCai, one of their early Ray Davies-style character sketches.
Newer sumptuous pop numbers Reaching Out For a Friend and Eyes Like Pearls took their lead from 70s behemoths ELO, a very good place to crib, and they unleashed their inner Black Sabbath stoner rockers on grand psychedelic boogie Holy Revelation and the proto-metal guitar wrangling of Stormbreaker which bought the main set to a climax before they returned to deliver the fuzz guitar goodness of Goodbye, with elemental rock breakdown, and rounded off on a high with their indie beat classic Dreaming Of You.