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The Coral

Sometimes you just have to wonder what's going on inside the head of a record label marketing person. Columbia Records circulates a promotional email called the Daily Dish. It's neither daily nor does it dish any gossip but it is free and has an extensive mailing list which includes music sales types, radio/broadcast urchins and even people who might actually buy music (often known as consumers). The primary function is to promote Columbia artists.

In August of '05, the Daily Dish hyped The Coral's "The Invisible Invasion." Now, here's the strange part. Heading the email was Barbra Streisand's "Guilty Pleasures." This was the 25th anniversary of her "Guilty" album. And back with her, a quarter of a century later, was former Bee Gee, Barry Gibb. Streisand was never much of a pop singer, more a show stopping belter from the "old school." "Guilty" was her big chart success. As such, it wasn't much of an album and hardly worth commemorating (except in the Streisand household). Besides, Babs had been commercially dead for more than 15 years - if not longer - at least since she married that third-rate actor. Maybe no one wanted to upset the diva.

Meanwhile, The Coral was buried in the email, along with Our Lady Peace. Most everybody who saw the Babs led email hit delete without even bothering to scroll down. Was it too difficult to send two emails? One with Babs and one with The Coral and Our Lady Peace? Try "target marketing." That might work.

Fortunately, groups are not solely reliant on their label for promotional support. Music publications are in the business of spotting the next "big thing." Unfortunately, most of the time it's all just useless hype designed to jack up sales and to keep advertisers happy. One magazine with a better than average record for actually identifying a major band or trend is Britain's NME (New Musical Express).

NME praised The Coral extensively in fall 2001, proclaiming them the best new band in England (whew!) thanks to the popularity of "Shadows Fall."

Hailing from Hoylake, The Coral is James Skelly (guitar/vocals), Ian Skelly (drums), Nick Power (organ), Bill Ryder-Jones (guitar/trumpet), Lee Southall (guitar/vocals) and Paul Duffy (bass/sax).
With NME's support, The Coral recorded an EP and their self-titled debut which hit the U.S. in '03. Two years later, "The Invisible Invasion" arrived.

The Coral Discography

Studio Albums:

2002 The Coral
2003 Magic And Medicine
2004 Nightfreak And The Sons Of Becker
2005 The Invisible Invasion
2007 Roots & Echoes
2010 Butterfly House
2014 The Curse Of Love
2016 Distance Inbetween

The first question that might come up when listening to The Corals is: "How old are these guys?" Just about everything, from their debut album's psychedelic cover to the arrangements, reek of other eras. There's a touch of the Yardbirds, from their experimental period, and Madness scattered here and there. In between are echoes of Spirit and It's A Beautiful Day. It provides a swirling yet driving backdrop for Skelly's vocals.

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