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The Coral – Wild Bird Review

Over a decade on from their debut album and The Coral, the self-titled effort of an American indie group still lives on in the minds of many. For some, it will have been through Scrubs, for others an absolute barnstormer of a track on LEGO Rockband. Either way, The Coral keeps on pushing, their latest collection of tracks seemingly off to a solid start with Wild Bird. Desperate to hold firm on this Ennio Morricone influence, the spaghetti westerns of old hold firm enough for The Coral to showcase their talented display of being taken far away on some adventure or mystery. Soar like a wild bird. Escapism of the soul through music links it together. Their folk inflictions do not let the spaghetti western style soar too high, but there it is. 

Having it there is as important as holding it near and dear. The Coral are clearly passionate about the gunslinging terrors of the late 1960s, as the rough and ready guitar solo dropped partway through showcases. Specifics do not matter here. Wild Bird knows its listeners want to be somewhere else. Don’t even ask. Just know it. Feel it coarse through the track, that knowledge, intimate or not, of knowing something better lies beyond the horizon, where birds escape to and we are left, jealous and grounded. The Coral gives it a good shot throughout this piece and is left with a steady, freeing little number with bouncing, bounding showcases. 

Spread your wings, The Coral demands. Not just of its listeners but of themselves also. This is slower and tender in tone than their classic, earlier tracks. Whether it is a worthy piece to introduce Clint Eastwood to gun-fearing audiences is neither here nor there, The Coral successfully captures the spaghetti western influence they were gunning for and makes good on it. Repetition is key to this, the simplicity of a wild bird and the representation The Coral can then mould around it is crucial. Twanging away with that groove in the midsection, the higher strings and the electric guitar isolated and brought to the forefront is a lovely creation. It settles nicely on the ears, although the transition to the wild bird as an observer, alongside the sun as the protagonist walks on, is a tad rough.  

Even when the bird cannot take the listener anywhere in particular, The Coral holds out hope and wish to soar off into some distant and unknown place or future. It is fair game as to where that leaves them, but their desire to drift out and move on is telling. Spaghetti western influences are a wild place to begin for their latest album but The Coral are determined and try something new. Successfully striking through with those strings in the intro, bleeding into some nice jangling of the Lee Van Cleef era, it is hard not to fall for Wild Bird and what it hopes to create. The atmosphere it holds is a firm and interesting one, although its spaghetti western pastiche is devoid of blood and bruised people, just a desire to be free in some far-off distant land. Adventure, not action.  

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Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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