Creative Review New Music
Flipping the dusty fallboard up on the saloon bar piano to stir deep pools of longing and regret, while sensing hope of salvation by making good their escape, The Coral release the twilight requiem of Faraway Worlds, the final track to be lifted from their new album, Sea Of Mirrors, released this Fri 8 September 2023 on Run On Records in assoc. with Modern Sky.
On the same day, the band will release the single-pressing, physical formats-only Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show, completing a characteristically unorthodox, summer-long voyage to both their 11th and 12th long-players.
Turning the cracked glamour of weary and lost fallen idols of film to face the doledrum-documentarians of 20th Century cinematic songwriting, founder member, songwriter and singer, James Skelly has previously described Sea Of Mirrors as the imagined soundtrack to “an Italian western directed by Fellini with a Richard Yates-written script” while namechecking Lee Hazlewood’s 1970 TV soundtrack, A Cowboy In Sweden, as one in a range of influential catalysts.
Yet, Faraway Worlds, the fourth song fans are able to hear in advance of Sea Of Mirror’s anticpated release, following previews including Wild Bird and That’s Where She Belongs, celebrates the power of imagination to fill voids of obvious inspiration. Looking back to the innocent wandering of brothers, James and the band’s drummer, Ian Skelly’s minds as children, the tapestry of weary bar room piano, slide guitar, flute and rich vocal harmonies forms a dusky, late-running highlight from the score to a film that has only existed, and can only ever exist, in the singular, creative world of The Coral.
James Skelly says of the track: “Ian and I wrote this one together. We were trying to capture the feeling of when we were kids, creating our own worlds. Lyrically, it’s inspired by Dylan Thomas, musically by John Martyn and the more pastoral side of Pink Floyd.”
The last albums to be recorded at Liverpool’s now lost, yet legendary studio complex, Parr Street, both Sea Of Mirrors and Holy Joe… were made to shine by the abundant virtues of collaboration. While welcoming The High Llamas and Stereolab’s Sean O’Hagan on board as co-producer for Sea Of Mirrors, detailing the album with string arrangements and challenging the band with quality-controlling critique, the band also welcomed Oppenheimer actor, Cillian Murphy to provide the finishing, dramatic touches to album closer, Oceans Apart.
Found to sit perfectly in the gap between the world created by their universally-acclaimed 2021 double album, Coral Island and the flooded set and soaked cardboard cowboys of Sea Of Mirrors’ doomed film set story, Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show’s broken radio broadcast, providing a further 17 tracks, is narrated once again by the Skelly’s grandfather, The Great Muriarty. Looking another step beyond the band for finishing touches, Holy Joe… features the previously released Drifter’s Prayer, narrated by Dr Who and Life On Mars actor, John Simm.
Sea Of Mirrors will be more released this week on multiple, limited-edition and standard vinyl formats as well as CD, cassette and digital, while Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show will only be available to fans and collectors on single-pressing physical vinyl, CD and cassette.
The Coral first appeared to the music loving public in the early 00’s via legendary Liverpool indie, Deltasonic and delivered a run of radio hit singles throughout that fertile decade, including Dreaming Of You (now on over 100 million streams globally and securing UK Platinum status), Pass It On, Don’t Think You’re The First and In The Morning. Six of their previous albums have reached the Top 10 including Coral Island and 2003’s No.1 chart success, Magic and Medicine, which saw the band nominated for Best Group at the Brit Awards.
The Coral is James Skelly, Ian Skelly, Nick Power, Paul Duffy and Paul Molloy.