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The Coral

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British rock group the Coral formed in 1996 in Hoylake, a town on the Wirral Peninsula just across the River Mersey from Liverpool. Credited with igniting the guitar group revival in England, the six-member band boasted three guitarists and presented a rich, spirited sound drawn from a variety of influences like Motown, Merseybeat, psychedelia, country, and dub. Led by the roguish baritone of singer/guitarist James Skelly with his younger brother Ian Skelly on drums, the band's lineup consisted of guitarists Lee Southall and Bill Ryder-Jones along with bassist Paul Duffy and organist Nick Power. After discovering the band in a local pool hall, Alan Wills launched the Deltasonic label specifically to release the Coral's music beginning with a 2001 single and a pair of EPs which led up to their breakthrough 2002 self-titled debut LP. The album was an immediate success, reaching number five on the U.K. charts and garnering a Mercury Prize nomination the day after its release. A year of hectic touring followed and in 2003 they delivered their more acoustic-oriented follow-up Magic and Medicine, which hit number one in the U.K. Their touring expanded to the U.S., Europe, and Japan before they hastily recorded the 2004 mini-album Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker, which showcased a darker, more funk-based sound. After 2005's Portishead-produced The Invisible Invasion, Ryder-Jones stepped down as a touring member of the band though he remained active in the studio, providing string arrangements for 2007's Roots & Echoes album. In 2008 Ryder-Jones made his departure from the group final and they closed the book on their first chapter with a retrospective singles and rarities collection. Regrouping as a five-piece, the Coral enlisted John Leckie (the Stone Roses, Radiohead) to produce their sixth album, 2010's Butterfly House, which also spawned the companion Butterfly House Acoustic release later in the year. In 2012, sessions from their proposed seventh record were shelved as the band went on an indefinite hiatus. Two years later in late 2014, it was suddenly announced that the Coral would release another album, though it would not be the recently abandoned album. Instead, an unreleased 2006 psych-folk album titled The Curse of Love would finally see the light of day. ~ Timothy Monger

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1996 in Hoylake, Merseyside, England

Years Active:

'90s, '00s, '10s