Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: The Coral “The Coral”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The Coral
Album Title: The Coral
Year released: 2002
Year reissued: 2011
Details: Black vinyl, 180 gram, Music on Vinyl

The skinny: Just a few days ago, I wrote about this ridiculous ear worm that appeared at number three on my Best tunes of 2002 list. But “Dreaming of you” is by no means the only incredible tune on The Coral’s self-titled debut. Indeed, the (at-the-time) young sextet from Merseyside, England had put together a twelve-song kooky and psychedelic party, that you might say is reflected in the colourful pastiche album artwork. When I saw a reasonably priced copy of this Music on Vinyl reissue pressed to a 180 gram disc, I did not hesitate. And I can happily say that I am just as pleased with this pressing as I have been with everything else I’ve purchased by MOV.

Standout track: “Wildfire”

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #3 The Coral “Dreaming of you”

<< #4    |    #2 >>

You want an ear worm? Well, have I got one for you!

Those who are already fans, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve heard this before but maybe have forgotten about its pure joy, chances are you’re going to thank me for the reminder. If you haven’t heard this track before, well… press play below and get ready to jump up and dance like a maniac.

This is The Coral’s third ever single and early hit, “Dreaming of you”.

The group was formed in 1996 in Hoylake, England when its six members were all still in high school. By the time the group released its debut, self-titled album, they had developed and fine-tuned a sound that was uniquely their own but one that was made up of instantly recognizable sounds. Steeped in old country folk, dub reggae, and all things psychedelic, they sounded old, yet new, and really, out of time altogether. Their relative youth fed their experimentation, their tendency towards fun and the lack of any sense of what shouldn’t work but in the end, did. The album was nominated for the Mercury prize and it and the band are seen as the first in the new wave of British guitar rock bands that kicked off the 2000s.

“Dreaming of you” comes in at track four on the album so if you’re listening to “The Coral” in full, you are already warmed up to the group’s energy, antics, and crazed pace. But I don’t think anything can prepare you for the smile that will instantly form on your face and how your feet will immediately start tapping. The hopping on one foot bass line begins the proceedings but the staccato guitars and whirling organs are not far behind. There’s horns, there’s vibraphone, there’s old style choral backup vocals and of course, there’s James Skelly’s soulful lead vocal turn. It’s like a crazed carnival on an old creaking ship caught in a turbulent ocean storm, navigating the giant waves with no one at the wheel because everyone is caught up in the party. It is mayhem and bedlam and hilarity. And all this in just a shade over two minutes.

“Up in my lonely room
When I’m dreaming of you
Oh what can I do
I still need you, but
I don’t want you now”

Whether you’re on the side of the lyrics being about heroin addiction or on the side of a love that’s no good but can’t be helped, there’s no arguing how wonderful the track is.

You are now guaranteed to be singing or humming this song all day.

You’re welcome.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #4 The Decemberists “The legionnaire’s lament”

<< #5    |    #3 >>

“I’m a legionnaire, camel in disrepair, hoping for a Frigidaire to come passing by.”

And so begins yet another great track off The Decemberists’ debut album, “Castaways and cutouts”*. I got into this album and the following year’s sophomore album simultaneously, perhaps sometime in 2004, after reading about them in my favourite indie music magazine ‘Under the radar’.

I remember being immediately blown away by the songwriting of Colin Meloy. Being a word geek myself, I loved the wordplay and use of archaic terms and thought it hilarious that I found myself reaching for the dictionary when listening to the lyrics of a pop song, indie or not. But it was not just the choice of words that won me over. It was how Meloy employed them, creating worlds and weaving tales, vivid and imaginative and just so much fun. And then there was the music, indie rock with a folk rock flavour, sampling music from around the world, and not just evoking that of today, but from different points in time throughout history.

The Decemberists have gone on to make eight studio albums in total and a handful of EPs, and successfully navigated the jump from indie to the majors without losing an ounce of what made them great. Every one of their songs is an adventure and you would be hard-pressed to tell me that they are one of those bands whose songs all sound the same.

“The legionnaire’s lament”, despite its title, is an upbeat number. It was the song that first hooked my wife Victoria to the group and is one to which we both love to sing along. And though the words can be esoteric and the specific experience unfamiliar – that of a French Foreign Legion soldier stranded in the desert, his plane shot down in battle in a war over a hundred years ago – the sentiment of missing his love and his home is universal and instantly recognizable.

“If only some rain would fall on the houses and the boulevards and the sidewalk bagatelles (it’s like a dream). With the roar of cars and the lolling of the cafe bars and the sweetly sleeping sweeping of the Seine. Lord I don’t know if I’ll ever be back again.”

Our protagonist is faithfully represented by an angry and forceful strum on the acoustic, the mirage of a jaunty drum beat and playful electric guitar lick, but what really places you in the tune and perfects the feeling of homesickness for Paris is the frolicking accordion. So good.

*”July July” from this same album appeared earlier, at number nineteen, on this list.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.