The Coronas

Heroes or Ghosts

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If Definitely Maybe was the musical statement of early-'90s working-class Manchester -- brash, traditional, and nary a hint of subtlety about it -- then the Coronas' debut album Heroes or Ghosts must surely be affluent suburban Dublin's 21st century response: pleasant, safe, and ultimately a little bit too dull for its own good. Taking his musical cues from Jeff Buckley, Oasis, and Snow Patrol, singer, guitarist, and chief songwriter Danny O'Reilly is well versed in the art of songwriting, and his strong sense of melody accounts for the greater proportion of the band's appeal. The majority of the 12 tracks (including bonus song "Temporary Release") are essentially vehicles for the singer's affected falsetto, the band's most distinguished but most abused feature. Arrangements take a backseat on ultra-melodic numbers like "San Diego Song" and energetic opener "Grace Don't Wait," detracting nothing but adding very little, but the album's best moments arise when they break out of their self-imposed shell and show a little passion. "The Talk" swims in chiming, delay-soaked guitar arpeggios, and the funky, dirty guitar riff which underpins "The Great Divide" recalls John Squire at his best. O'Reilly's falsetto is utilized to best effect on "Filtho," an infectious country-tinged number which bears quite a resemblance to Oasis' "She's Electric," and for a moment it sounds as if the Coronas are a genuinely dynamic group. For the most part, however, the band's lack of assertiveness does a disservice not only to themselves but the otherwise well-constructed songs. "The Talk," "San Diego Song," and "Decision Time" alone could commandeer radio station play lists the world over, but the Coronas will have to decide if that's worthy substitution for a real identity.

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