Summer has arrived on Coral Island and nobody is basking in the optimistic dawn of longer days and wilder nights than the resort’s tour guides, The Coral. Having attained their second highest ever UK Album Chart position at No.2, their highest for over a decade, the resurgent Wirral five-piece release the windows-down-and-drive splendour of Change Your Mind from their universally-acclaimed, double album, as the sun climbs higher in their sky.
A two-part, four-sided album about a possibly mythical, thrillingly down-at-heel offshore resort, complete with pirate radio station, neon-lit fairgrounds and alligator ponds gained wild applause beyond common wisdom on its release in April. Lengthening their own, distinct chapter in the story of British music, Coral Island – released on the cusp of their 20th year – broke almost every rule of the modern age of the algorithm.
Change Your Mind is plucked from Part One of Coral Island, representing the Waltzer-spinning months of the summer, packed with upbeat melody, surfer-boy harmonies, crystal-cut guitars and a beat that ticks to the heartbeats of blushing, holiday romantics. The single’s copy and paste, picturebook video comes courtesy of animator and illustrator, John Eaton.
James Skelly says of the single: “If The Byrds, Jackson Browne and REM recorded a song together in Blackpool I would imagine it to be something like this.”
One of the most celebrated elements of Coral Island, compared by a wide-constituency of critics to great thematic albums such as The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and Small Faces’ Ogden Nut Gone Flake, was the inclusion of James and Ian Skelly’s 85-year-old grandad, Ian Murray, in the role of ‘The Great Muriarty’, the record’s worldly-wise, all-seeing narrator. As well as representing the first time another lead vocalist has ‘fronted’ The Coral, Murray is believed to be the oldest artist to debut in the UK Album Charts Top 5.
Alongside Coral Island’s multi-format release came an accompanying book, written by the band’s keyboard player and songwriter, Nick Power, with 20 brand new illustrations by drummer and designer of many previous band visuals, Ian Skelly. Over Coral Island provides a 188 page companion piece to the album’s vivid, aural depictions of a time and place that perhaps never was.