Butterfly HouseAlbum | The Coral By Jim Allen
U.K. psych heroes make their pop move.
Diehard fans of The Coral’s early, eccentric phase may be put off by the overt pop moves of the band’s sixth album, but that’s a bit like dismissing Their Satanic Majesties Request for not being bluesy enough. (Don’t laugh, there are people who do.) In fact, the entirety of The Coral’s career has been a gradual but unmistakable evolutionary process, from skewed this-is-your-band-on-drugs freakiness to melodic, mysterious Doors/Love territory, and finally, pastoral harmony-pop that owes as much to the early ‘70s as the '60s. (The Butterfly House has already earned more than one comparison to iconic soft-rock trio America.) Some might point to the departure of founding guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones as a reason for the sanding off of The Coral’s rougher edges, but axeman's subsequent solo material hasn't exactly been avant-garde either. And while the heavenly vocal harmonies, hooky choruses, and jangly mix of acoustic and electric picking move The Coral definitively out of the weird-uncle-music bin at last, there are still plenty of moments where a dark undercurrent can be discerned, subtly suggesting that the sunshine-and-flowers world the band has built on The Butterfly House may not be quite as innocent as it seems.