The Coral were formed in 1996 by James Skelly (lead singer) and five school friends, the band began by making music while studying at school (Hilbre High School, West Kirby, Wirral).
The bands full lineup included James Skelly, Nick Power (Organ), Ian Skelly (Drums), Lee Southall (Guitar/Vocals), Paul Duffy (Bass/ Vocals) and Bill Ryder Jones (lead guitar).
After a chance meeting, Alan Wills (who would go on to create Deltasonic, the bands future record label) went to see the group perform and was impressed enough to start his record label and base it around the band.
Guitar Based Music
The band became embroiled in the rebirth of a guitar-based music scene in Liverpool. Harking back to an age of three minute pop classics, psychedelia and jangly guitars with more unexpected influences such as soul and funk, and that was just the first album!
As the band developed a whole raft of other groups emerged from Liverpool playing that melodious, jangly guitar-based pop such as The Zutons, The Stands and The Dead 60’s.
Their self titled first album, The Coral was released on 29th July 2002 to rapturous applause as it was hailed with a Mercury music prize nomination the day after its release. The album debuted at number 5 in the charts also claiming the prize of fourth best album of the year by NME magazine.
Featuring singles like the folk rock foot stomper Dreaming of You and psychedelic procession Skeleton Key the album hailed the band as the ‘first English band of the guitar group revival’.
Second Studio Album
After hectic touring on both sides of the Atlantic, the band began recording their second studio album. The resulting record Magic and Medicine was critically acclaimed and flew into the number one spot in the album chart.
This confirmed the band as major players and they enjoyed their first top ten singles with Don’t Think You’re the First and Pass It On.
Along came tours in Europe, the United States and Japan and in the summer of 2003, the band put on a homecoming festival in New Brighton near their hometown of Hoylake. Called Midsummer Nights Scream bands including The Zutons, The Libertines and of course The Coral played out huge sets to nearly 6000 people.
The sell-out festival was rumored to have cost the band £40,000, but like Spike Island (The Stone Roses) and Maine Road (Oasis), it introduced them to the big time.
2004 brought the ‘mini album’ Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker released 26 January as a spontaneous recording with some songs written in the studio and immediately recorded. Produced by Lightning Seeds founder Ian Broudie the album charted at number five.
2005 brought the bands third major release the Invisible Invasion reaching number 3 in the UK charts. While keeping its pop sensibility the band stripped itself of the psychedelic edge that characterized the band in its earlier albums.
In terms of singles In the Morning received extensive radio play and, for many, became the soundtrack for the summer of 2005.
Roots and Echoes
The bands next studio album, released 6 August 2007 entitled Roots and Echoes, aided by promotion at the major summer festivals and carrying on sonically in a similar vein as The Invisible Invasion the album charted at number 8. This was the last album Bill Ryder Jones performed on before leaving the band in 2008.
Last year brought the bands fifth major original release Butterfly House charting at #16 (2009 saw the release of The Singles Collection with a second disc of rarities and B-sides).
Produced by John Leckie (producer of The Stone Roses first album) and bearing many signature ‘Leckie’ techniques the album represented a fixation on melody and close harmony obviously inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash and the Byrds.
Described as their most accessible album to date it seems that the band have increasingly concentrated on cracking the guitar pop mainstream whilst slowly moving away from its psychedelic beginnings.