The Coral Review + Photoset

15th December | O2 Academy

Photos: Matthew Fessey

A lot has changed in the last 20 years; CD’s that were once so popular have been replaced with streaming sites and YouTube; floppy disks have been completely obliterated from the face of the earth to make room for external hard drives, and let’s not even start talking about all the political changes (we’d be here all day). One thing, however which seems to have stood the test of time and remained well and truly in the 90’s is the sound of Merseyside five piece The Coral.

They kicked off the night with ‘Chasing the Tail of a Dream’ – the first single from their latest album Distance Inbetween. The moody cosmic sounds of synth poppy organs transported you to the video game world of Sega Mega Drive with it’s cheesy computerised soundtracks, and for the rest of the song I couldn’t shift the image of Sonic the Hedgehog chaotically collecting gold hoops to it.

‘In The Morning’ from their 2005 album The Invisible Invasion invigorated the so far sullen set with some much needed energy, finally animating the crowd and inducing a sing a long. Completely rid of angst, even partners who had been dragged along not knowing any of the songs were enthusiastically belting out the lyrics in perfect sync.

Their sometimes ‘all too dreary’ sound is a wash of 60’s guitar driven psychedelia made that little bit more interesting with the statement hallucinogenic visuals they had projected behind them. It’s true you can’t take your eyes of the stage but it’s not because the band are particularly successful crowd pleasers. Between tracks they keep talking to a minimal, sometimes so minimal they don’t even introduce the song. However, it’s not enough to change the minds of a group of hens reliving their youth at the front of the stage heckling “I love you Ian” and giggling enthusiastically during the few quiet moments.

A balanced mix of old and new material saw the now 40 something year olds get catapulted back to their twenties, embracing the music and pints that go so well with it all too easily. As the end of the set crept closer and closer the crowd were still holding out for one final song they were all dying to hear. The band quickly exited the stage after final song ‘Arabian Sand’ which had band members play the absolute best out of their instruments, and even treated the crowd to extra long instrumentals.

Almost instantaneously the crowd burst into whooping and started rhythmically stomping on the ground so hard you could feel each, determined footstep. It was clear that no fan of The Coral would even really be a fan of them if it wasn’t for the much anticipated crowd pleaser, ‘Dreaming of You’ which had everyone shuffling about one last time.

Check out the video for ‘Dreaming of You’ below.