The Coral: Butterfly House (Shock)

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The Coral: Two Faces
The Coral: Butterfly House (Shock)

Sometimes sounding like an odd collision in the studio of early Echo and the Bunnymen and America, Liverpool's the Coral here deliver their big songs (big on melody, choruses, drama and references) with enjoyable passion but never quite approach that frisson they had on their thrilling self-titled debut album of '02.

However these lightly-delic and powerfully pop-conscious songs (produced by John Leckie whose credits include Radiohead and Stone Roses) have a kind of understated grandeur -- you think they are orchestrated but aren't, and surprisingly only the closer North Parade (at six minutes) stretches beyond the 3.45 mark.

So these are economic but expansive pop and included here are two co-writes with Sean O'Hagan (The High Llamas) and Ian Broudie (The Lightning Seeds), both men who know a perfect pop chord progression inside out.

With those folk-country influences which have always been an element of their style, songs like Green is the Colour of Her Eyes and the finger-picking Falling All Around You are immediately endearing, and their Sixties vocal harmonies and guitar jangle come to the fore in Two Faces (the co-write Broudie which could have fallen off a mid-period Monkees album -- and that's a compliment).

There are a lot of albums competing for attention but this one -- very favourably reviewed in the UK -- is one of those that has much more to offer than most if your heart appreciates ambitious pop with side benefits of clever references to smile at. 

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