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The Coral: Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker

Album Notes

Released less than half a year after Magic and Medicine, Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker is another eclectic and accomplished patchwork of tantalizing neo-psychedelia from the prolific lads the Coral. For this go-around, they spent a week recording a jammy bunch of tunes and carousing through a myriad of musical inspirations with studio wiz Ian Broudie manning the knobs. While such a scenario seems like it might lead to a bunch of demo-quality throwaways, these 11 songs are mostly potent and exhilarating. The mood and mannerisms of Magic and Medicine again rule the day, which means another batch of timeless songs brimming with tambourines, vintage keyboards, singsong melodies, and rousing rock passages. If the album has a more experimental tone, it's because some of the songs seem to jump forward a number of decades in musical influence. Opener "Precious Eyes" has the undeniable feel of a Super Furry Animals song, with its wobbly guitars, cha-ching drums, and singalong chorus. "I Forgot My Name" owes a debt to the Fall, as shouty megaphone vocals and sonic distortion make for invigorating festivities. "Song of the Corn" blends old-school psychedelic flourishes with new-school Beta Band vibes. It's this mixing of old and new dynamics that makes Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker such a compelling listen. Coming from a band so enamored with and indebted to the 1960s, this is at least a small step into a more accessible sonic pool. This album was added to the U.S. release of Magic and Medicine as a bonus disc, which made for a stunning bargain. Also quite stunning is the quality that goes hand in hand with the quantity of the band's output. With three albums in under three years, the Coral gave a slap to the face of their more creatively passive peers. In an era when so many bands seemed to dread the studio and wait eons between full-length albums, the Coral stormed the studio, stuck to their creative muses, and released an impeccable trio of infectious albums. ~ Tim DiGravina


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