Without doubt it is their best effort to date. It takes the experiments and borrowings of Nightfreak that little bit further, whilst adding a gravitas and richer, more emotive textures to their undoubted song writing ability.
I reckon I could write this review in about five sentences. That's if I really wanted to. It would be dead, dead easy. All I would do is drag up the obvious and oft-repeated Coral cliches, concerning a talented yet undisciplined band who seem content to release quirky low-key albums all heavily influenced by the Teardrops, Bunnymen, Can, Barrett or the Velvets. I'd then bemoan the fact that yet another year goes by without the band matching their debut album. Praise the odd great song as a peace making gesture and you are sorted.
Except I'd be lying this time. A strong case can be made that The Invisible Invasion is their strongest yet. They are magpies, no doubting that, but what other band has the nouse and cheek to steal their crumbs from the high table? She Sings the Mourning appropriates the beat straight from Tago Mago's Oh Yeah, overlaying it with a beautiful haunting harmony only to shatter the illusion with a vicious guitar break now and then. Other bands nick from Blur, The Coral listen to Can and Faust. Nuff said.
Another noticeable thing is that the tracks on this album have the happy knack of sticking in your mind, and possess a smoothness and cohesion that has been missing from their recorded work recently. It's also looser, less perky and much more reflective in places. Changing producer from Broudie to Barrow has given a more substantial, rounded feel to the songs. They no longer rely on charm alone. One look at the titles should show the new seriousness that has gripped the band. Warnings, Mournings, Abductions, artwork showing mushroom clouds; it's all gloomy. The jaunty In the Morning is the only up-beat track in the first half dozen. Then there is the splendidly trippy Warning to The Curious to contend with, a Mersey beat offset by bubbly synths and Bunnymen-esque guitars. The story told is a cautionary one about love and loss (just so you didn't get too giddy from my slavering description).
The highlights are without doubt Come Home, which transforms from a stop-start, maudlin lament to a blitz of savage guitars and bonkers fairground synth noises, and Arabian Sand; which champions the classic Louis Louis/You Really Got Me/We Did It Again/It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl riff upgraded for a new generation, and, as with Come Home, it loses it's marbles with about a minute to go crashing headlong through a squall of bleating synths and snarling guitars.
Without doubt it is their best effort to date. It takes the experiments and borrowings of Nightfreak that little bit further, whilst adding a gravitas and richer, more emotive textures to their undoubted song writing ability. A great band the Coral, a great band indeed. Ignore the faint praise dished out everywhere else. Buy this, it's a bobby dazzler.
Words : Richard Foster