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EDITIONS
Monday, 29 July, 2002, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
The Coral's magical mystery tour
The Coral
The Coral hail from the Wirral

While most self-respecting budding musicians in towns across the country are working out either how they can be like Slipknot or Gareth Gates, one group of wild-eyed northerners are on the loose.

The Coral - six mad, stoned, startling 20-something mates from the Wirral - have hijacked the ferry 'cross the Mersey and seem to be heading for the United States west coast at some point in the 1970s.

Having avoided all popular culture since Sergeant Pepper, they are musical explorers, time travellers, monumental trip-takers.

The lead singer is James Skelly
Lead singer says he has "just got a pyschedelic head"
And they have produced a debut album that is both ridiculous and brilliant.

The magical mystery tour contained on this self-titled album takes us from the Cavern Club and goes via the South Pacific, docking at a Mexican surfing beach, down the Nile and through a steaming Apocalypse Now-style jungle, with a trip or two to Venus and back.

After a record company bidding war for the band's signature (which reportedly won them a 1m deal) and much salivating in the music press, this album is one of the strangest and most refreshing of the year.

It will not catapult The Coral to the status of worshipped musical trailblazers, but it will give anyone who listens to it a good ride - in a ghost train kind of way.

Swinging from one style to the next with hardly enough time to take a toke, the album - produced by Lightning Seed frontman Ian Broudie - is a rollicking, stomping, madly tuneful journey.

Some songs are melodic slices of Merseybeat like the infuriatingly catchy Dreaming of You and top 30 single Goodbye.


Intrepid music fans will find this a journey worth taking

Others are wildly psychedelic trips that incorporate everything from sea shanties to Cossack dancing tunes to the Charleston.

Lead singer James Skelly says the band grew up listening to Captain Beefheart and Love, explaining why he's "just got a psychedelic head".

One track, Simon Diamond, is a particularly strange tale of a man who lives in a nutshell - he "couldn't take the public scorn/Changed from human to plant form/Now he's swapped his legs for roots/His arms and soil are in cahoots". Apparently.

The Coral sound like they took part in a secret rock'n'roll genetic experiment that went horribly wrong, but still ended up giving them super powers. A bit like the Green Goblin in Spider-Man.

But there is no threat to the fabric of society - and intrepid music fans will find this a journey worth taking.

The Coral is released by Deltasonic on 29 July.

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The Coral
Hear a clip from single Goodbye
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