The Coral

Skeleton Key

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Liverpool sextet the Coral don't recall their famous antecedents, the Beatles, on this five-song-and-one-video EP, but the band does echo another British Invasion act on one occasion, borrowing the guitar part from the Animals' 1964 arrangement of "The House of the Rising Sun" for the lengthy story song "Sheriff John Brown." Although the band's playing ranges from the Middle Eastern rock of "Skeleton Key" to the gentle, melodic, acoustic ballad "Darkness," their music is always characterized by an angular, unpolished sound. The instruments clash against each other instead of blending, giving the arrangements a noisy feel. And the untutored vocals add to the roughhewn posture. Not infrequently, the sound is reminiscent of the thrown-together sound of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. On their debut American release, the Coral come off as a young band with a lot of ideas who are still trying to learn how to execute those ideas. [A Japanese version added a bonus track.]

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