(5 / 5)
No. Not going there….The name of this Irish band is the name of this band – and has been for 17 years and five albums. The Coronas. End of.
I’m pretty sure they are sick to the back teeth of cheap jibes about their moniker. I am here for one reason right now: to tell you about their stunning incoming new album, “True Love Waits”. Not to take the p***!
These dozen cuts are magnificent. The song writing is faultless to match the performances and the five star production values. If this gushing praise seems OTT to you and whiffs of brown envelopes stuffed with payola, you are half right (no bungs necessary).
It is OTT – and deservedly so. This is a masterful sixth album. Even more so when you consider the quartet became a trio suddenly in the summer of last year, when guitarist and best friend Dave McPhillips decided to quit.
The three remaining members were shocked at the news and at first, wondered if this was the end of the line for the band. But luckily they felt they still had more to give and this could perhaps give them a new outlook, and even offer up a fresh challenge after several multi-Platinum albums and a huge fan-base in their homeland of Ireland. They have made waves in the US and other territories around the globe.
But their scheduled six month world tour was scrapped due to the lockdown sutiation, and the planned May release of the new album pushed back to the end of July. But trust me when I say, it is gonna be well worth waiting for.
Music Republic Magazine were invited to the private launch of the Dublin-based band’s previous album back in 2017, “Trust The Wire” which was a superb set of songs. You can read the review and see pix from that event in our “Live Zone”.
So a three year wait for a new one, a trio instead of a four-piece and main songwriter and lead singer Danny O’Reilly (son of legendary singer Mary Black) co-writing with a slew of other writers for the new song set. Mixing it up by inviting various different guitarists in to contribute to the new tracks, some guest backing vocalists too, real brass for the first time, as well as a duet partner for Danny in the form of Gabrielle Aplin on one track.
The other two guys encouraged Danny to, “use my voice differently, just pushing me to try something that I wouldn’t have done previously”, on the new record. It has all worked like magic….Credit must also go to George Murphy, a gifted young producer who obviously knew how to interpret the band’s aims to help to deliver this excellent addition to their catalogue.
Losing their best mate and guitarist Dave, perhaps helped the trio get a clearer picture of what they wanted the new album to be. To let the songs lead them in new ways. Rather than replace Dave, they actually contemplated ditching guitars entirely. But instead, opened themselves up to work with various talented friends – because the songs warranted it.
Two songs had already been recorded in L.A. last February, with Hozier and PJ Harvey producer Rob Kirwan, when Danny, bassist Graham Knox and drummer Conor Egan pressed reset from the departure of their guitarist. Key to the process of crafting the rest of the songs was Danny’s new co-writers.
This new blood has allowed the song structures to take a new direction, and pushed Danny out of his writing comfort zone. But the sound still has The Coronas’ own warmth and class.
The title track was penned with Cian MacSweeny, frontman of Cork-formed, Dublin-based trio True Tides, one of The Coronas’ favourite bands and their recent support act. One eye-popping lyric from this title track perhaps sums up the band’s new found energy and drive, after the initial pondering of the end of the road when Dave left. “Fuck that, take a chance”. My sentiments to life, in fact, when I am often told “give it up, you’ll never do it!”
“Find The Water” was the first single last year, which features Danny giving it some welly in upper register falsetto. Another single “Cold” was written by Danny as a pick-me-up late one night alone – focused on decision-making and self-doubt. The track urges one to not question every decision, and to stay positive and move on.
The songs on the record cover topics such as “a new love in Danny’s life”, looking back at past achievements with pride and dealing with Dave’s departure.
“Light Me Up” features co-writer Cian on backing vocals. “Haunted”, one of two songs written with producer Cormac Butler, is a toast to a partnership. “Lost in The Thick of It”, is the lovely duet with Gabrielle Aplin, written with Gabrielle and her partner Alfie Hudson-Taylor.
“Heat Of The Moment” is an awesome ear-worm of a track. One of THE songs of the year for me, and surely a shoo-in for a big radio hit around the world….and a big earner from potential TV and movie soundtrack sync deals. Been whistling and humming it, and singing the chorus for days! The 1975 meets Mumford & Sons.
Love the band’s sentiments when they say they are not trying to compete with anyone else, and they’d rather “just outdo ourselves.” Methinks you did, lads.
If there is justice and they have a good team behind them, this album should be the making of this band and propel them to levels of success they’e not seen in the last 17 years. The songs are all here. The sound is on-point for 2020/21 and beyond…..there’s a bunch of radio-friendly ‘ hits’ here and as an album, it really is marvellous.
I was about to say this album and the songs on it are infectious – but in hindsight, that might turn out to be a clumsy phrase to use in the circumstances!
This is a band that has played for US President Barack Obama, supported the Script, headlined to 15,000 and frequently sold out large venues in their own right.
Conor Egan on drums, Graham Knox on bass and singer Danny O’Reilly. 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.
“True Love Waits”. The band’s passion, energy and chemistry along with the best songs of their career and faultless production values makes this one of THE best albums of the year thus far in 2020. Easiest maximum five stars I have ‘awarded’ to any recording for a long time….
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’