Twenty Two, Anne Street, Dublin was the intimate venue chosen by The Coronas to preview their fifth studio album. “Trust The Wire” released today (2nd June) on So Far, So Good Records, will be a surprise for their loyal fan-base, the 10 tracks being a slight departure from their trademark melodic, hands-in-the-air pop. The tunes are now blended with haunting atmospherics, and this richer, deeper sound should win them new fans.
“From the opening track “We Couldn’t Fake It”, with its haunting Ultravox ‘Vienna-like’ drum backing, through to the final track, “Look At All The Lovers”, (with beautiful harmonies, and the song providing the lyric that became the title of the album), the band and their music hold the attention throughout.
A Dublin-based outfit formed 14 years ago in 2003, the guys lived in London for four years, returning home to Ireland to write this album. Then back across the water to record at West London’s Eastcote studios with Eliot James, who has worked with the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club, Plan B and Tor Miller.
The 200 invited guests for this private showcase that packed the venue, created a charged and warm reception. The selection of this home turf venue followed an evening where frontman Danny O’Reilly was out on the town, and ended up popping in to the venue, empty at the time, to play the band’s new tracks on the house piano. He realised then that this Baroque-style dining hall with its narrow gallery would be the perfect place to launch the album.
Tracks from the new album played by the band during the live set included “A Bit Withdrawn”, “Gut Feeling” and the wonderful, “We Couldn’t Fake It”. The latter track a nod to the various hurdles and challenges that have faced the band in the last few years. This included signing to major label Island Records, where they released the 2011 album “Closer To You”.
Eventually parting company with the label, desiring greater control of their musical destiny. For a band that has played for US President Barack Obama, supported the Script and frequently sold out large venues in their own right, the Coronas have remained unafraid to try new directions.
Live and on record, they kick ass but there’s plenty of light and shade away from the more rambunctious stuff. On first listen, the gorgeous “Give Me A Minute” hints at a more romantic theme, when in reality it’s an expression of the lead singer Danny O’Reilly’s need for a little space post gig, or as he puts it, “Being anti-social”. Something he could not be accused of at this classy little bash, where guests were greeted at the door and offered a drink and nibbles.
The four members are all Dublin natives, with Danny first meeting Graham at the tender age of two weeks old, due to their parents shared love of music. The pair went to college together, where they met Conor Egan and all three were in the band Kiros. Following a split and name change to The Coronas, Dave McPhillips came in after a number of previous line ups, to join the other three.
Fellow classmate Jim Lawless was to become their long term manager. Jim’s speech at the album launch before the band took to the stage, emphasised the “family feel” the band are all about. They were a five-piece tonight, joined by keyboard player and guitarist Johnny McSharry, a regular touring member of the band.
After five albums – their debut was “Heroes Or Ghosts” in 2007 – and 14 years on the road, based on this refreshing new album and their effervescent performance tonight, The Coronas appear to be somewhat reinvigorated, perhaps stepping outside their comfort zone a tad and pushing the boundaries in an effort to stay fresh and relevant. That effort well worth it, for sure……….
The track “Real Feel” delivers a rousing anthem destined to become a favourite over the coming summer months, while “Gut Feeling” sits on a piano-driven track with a lyric that urges us to trust our instincts.
The Coronas face an extensive touring itinerary across Europe, the USA, the UK and Australia, between September and Christmas. Before then, they are gearing up to play their biggest ever headline show to date, on the first of July at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin to a crowd of 15,000.
Words & Pix: Ian Shipley
The Coronas: “Trust The Wire” CD cover…………………..