The Coral at The Academy on the 22nd of November, 2019

It’s hard to believe a band like The Coral would ever struggle to get booked for an Irish gig. But apparently, that was the case according to a fan who pleaded with them to come and play recently over Twitter. Luckily, his prayers were swiftly answered with the announcement of an Academy show on the back of this year’s release ‘Move Through The Dawn’.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t made the same impact on the masses “Oh The Coral? Yeah I know them,” someone remarks in the lift. “They had a song in Scrubs.” No matter: the lads are keen to press on with more recent material, holding off on the newly dubbed ‘Scrubs Song’ until later in the night.

As the night continues, it becomes evident that the Liverpool six-piece have a desire to distance themselves from their earlier pop releases. Their appetite for heavy, thrashing rock is huge – bigger than whatever want they have to conform to the mainstream. Chasing The Tail Of A Dream runs away with itself, unfolding like a paper fortune teller of stacked vocals and guitar lines.

Singer James Skelly talks little, bar to intro songs, leaving all the camaraderie and banter to bassist Paul Duffy and on more than one occasion, it comes off as a little insincere.

Where simplicity works is on Pass It On, its delicate piano melody capable of eliciting pure joy. However, In The Morning comes and goes with little fanfare from the lads, but plenty of excitement from the crowd; an excitement that they’d seemed to be reserving for this moment. Bill McCai is reeled off with such ease, almost if it simply bores the lads to roll them out.

Now, it cannot be said that the lads aren’t good at what they do. When there’s a focus on more intense leaning indie rock, they’re all in. There’s a large section of solo guitar work during the encore which can only be described as feeling inter-dimensional. For their biggest and ultimately diluted – hits, it seems to be a race to the finish line more than anything.

The Scrubs Song, aka Dreaming Of You, comes and caps off a pleasant, if slightly stilted evening. They bemoan the venue curfew, as I’m sure they’d be happy to thrash on through their discography were they not restrained by time. It’s not a case of resting on their laurels, rather a reluctant look back at what it took to get them here.

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