ALBUM REVIEW: The Coronas – True Love Waits

6/10

The Coronas

Towards the end of 2019 guitarist, Dave McPhillips decided to quit the band after being with The Coronas for over a decade. Despite the melancholy reaction, this news received from the remaining band members and fans alike it did not deter musical productivity or the planned 2020 UK, European and US tours. Unfortunately for this now Irish trio, the majority of these tour dates were cancelled owing to the global virus which they share the same name which frontman Danny O’Reilly has reflected upon.

The Coronas’ are a band always seeking to challenge itself and remain hungry as  O’Reilly reflects upon the “amazing adrenaline rush” and “connection you can’t get…in an arena”. Whilst admitting that they would change their name if they were are newer and unestablished act; things could have been worse if they had stuck to their initial original band name “Corona” which The Coronas’ changed to avoid confusion with the nineties dance band who scored chart success with “Rhythm of the Night”.

Nonetheless, excitement for LP number six has exacerbated with Spotify numbers increasing. The band boasted of using real brass for the first time and recruiting “young” producer George Murphy to inject new and fresh ideas to reflect “a band maturing, coming into your adulthood while not playing it too safe”. Judging by the album artwork (which boasts of a Matisse style figure amongst a minimalist early modern backdrop) and single “Find the Water” being recorded at the  Joshua Tree National Park in California; musical development and maturity is expected.

Opening with a song sharing the same title of this LP one is not allured by the diluted guitars, and is emotionless and passion-free resulting in a lacklustre sound lacking bite. Sadly the majority of the following tracks fail to build momentum on this false start. The opening bland and mechanised piano intro about being “Cold” with distinguished, yet muffled drumming about being alone without a partner fails to engage human emotions. Sadly these challenges result in the listener being untouched and unmoved by this probably painful and personal experience. Likewise “Heat of the Moment” lacks intensity and the synth keys, diluted drums and acoustic guitars are all meshed together to the extent that it’s challenging to trace the separate individual elements which comprise this song. The biggest issue is that the song offers seldom incentive to take an interest.

There are pockets of hope where one sees successful resuscitation. The second track “Never Ending (On Your Side)” sees impressive piano riffs which complement the Editors “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors” and Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart”. The fire and passion missing from the premiering track are unleashed and boosted with an injection of real brass (as promised by the band) without reaching a crescendo and monopolising this elegantly layered track. “Brave” also impresses sounding like an Irish tinged, more mainstream version of a Bright Eyes piano-based ballad. The strength lies in the detection of genuine feeling and concern in wanting to “hear you scream”. Penultimate “Light Me Up” has a catchy bounce in the drumbeat and the guitar like Savage Garden’s “Crash and Burn”.

Sadly the majority of the sounds either remind you of other songs without creating elation such as “Haunted” resembling Nick Jonas’ “Jealous” and “Need Your Presence” resounding like Beyoncé’s “Halo”. Whilst “Light Me Up” is a good standalone track; the disappointing listening journey to reach this destination does not seem justified especially as the playout track “LA at Night” reverts to type.

In conclusion whilst the presence of guitars was always intended to be minimalised; the piano all too often overcompensates unimaginatively. The brass is not fully welcomed and utilised as a new and trusted friend. Whilst True love Waits does not disappoint lyrically; the overall missing musical essence across songs including “Find the Water” results in one not wanting to apply effort in trying to decipher the metaphor the “water” is representing.

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