Release date (UK): 28th May
If you haven’t heard of The Coronas before, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were some cheap, knock-off cover band who played hideous renditions of songs on a Saturday night at your local. Based on their name that is, of course. Let’s face it – the name is prime beef for those who get paid to karaoke, a name that fits perfectly with the image of a cover band. You can just imagine the singer of this fictional The Coronas shouting to his minions who’re strewn on the dance-floor, tipping their alcoholic nourishment all over their afternoon-bought clothes:
‘Well, come on then, get the Corona’s in!’ as they sign off the second part of their ‘set’ with the overused, overheard and overdone Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. For those of you who’re a bit lost now,Corona is a brand of lager. See what I mean, the name goes hand-in-hand for an un-witty cover band who can just use their name to get a few laughs and cheers from the audience. I dunno, maybe I’m sounding miserable here. It’s probably the amount of years I’ve worked behind bars myself and witnessed a load of bands with names that make you just go: urgh.
However, The Coronas are far from being a cover band and you’ll be glad to know that their name doesn’t derive from the insipid dish-water that is the lager, Corona. Their name is inspired by the film Almost Famous – the typewriter used by the protagonist in said film is a Smith Corona – so it’s good to know that the guys have got a bit of creativity and also a bit of class about them; the image of a cover band belting out the boozy classics now dissolves away. The band are also the biggest-selling independent group in Ireland at the moment. This is partly due to their last album, Tony Was an Ex-Con, beating off competition from such bands as heavyweights Snow Patrol and juggernauts U2 to win Best Album at the 2010 Meteor Awards, but also down to the sheer accessibility that their music has. This accessibility has also seen the band support The Script, open for Paul McCartney, play the main stage at Oxegen festival and also sell out Marlay Park – playing to 7,000 fans. As you can see, the band are no strangers to the scene; they’ve been around as a band since 2003 but have only really made headway in their native Ireland. Yes, their success at the Meteor Awards granted them some attention from our nit-picky music scene but even after such a big award, they didn’t seem to crack it over here. If you ask someone about them, they’d probably say The Cor-who?, but after listening to this album, they’re more likely to finish the name and add the ending – onas – before their mouth slams shut. However, the band may have something here that’ll finally hand them the acclaim from our shores that has eluded them so far.
Opener, What You Think You Know, has a jangly acoustic-based riff that’s joined by a more robust, framed electric riff that pushes in and out of the track. The drumbeat is solid and rhythmical while probably the most favourable aspect of the track is that the vocalist doesn’t alter his Irish accent in the slightest way. This makes for a classy feel; a feel that the band aren’t afraid of their roots and won’t snuggle up to the materialisation of the industry. They’d rather be laid bare, and they do that with this track.
Blind Will Lead The Blind is a track that just oozes style and substance. The soothing, gently picked guitar, alongside the commanding, lonely drums really adds a heartfelt, sorrowful reverberation around the whole track. The vocals are flawless, every lyric is formed and portrayed in an almost cinematic way – the lines of The blind will lead the blind / Though I can’t see it, I somehow feel it will be on rewind in your mind when the sun comes back up and when it goes down again. It is a track that’ll appeal to a wide audience, and is a personal favourite and a definite contender for best song on the album.
However, not all goes to plan on this album. The, quite frankly, too twee and generic My God isn’t too far away from being completely lacklustre, it’s only the vocals that really save it. The chorus comes across as something the band put together in a matter of minutes; it’s so systematic it almost hurts and it’s a shame as it lets the rest of the album down. The music is similar to what you’d hear on some horrible advert for a company who want to let you know they’re so pure at what they do and smile constantly throughout the advert like some freakishly happy poltergeists. By far, the worst point of the album and it would have been better if the track wasn’t included at all.
The album ends on Make It Happen. The deeply embedded riff sways in the background until the track finally kicks into life just after the 1 minute mark, making for a harder-edge to the track. The lingering lyrics of You gotta make it happen for yourself / For yourself, for yourself along with the chilled-out, delayed feel the whole of the track has really makes for a sound that brings to mind the hazy days of summer and an overall accomplished feel.
This album certifies The Coronas as a band who keep pushing themselves with every release and while it may not be as defined as Tony Was an Ex-Con, it definitely has the accessibility and a certain vulnerability to it that may just be the key to further success.