Más allá del ejercicio de desnudez sonora y arreglística al que ha sido sometido el sonido de THE CORAL, lo cierto es que la banda británica ya no es lo que fue allá por comienzos de los dos mil. Su épico sonido neopsicodélico ha sido aligerado al punto de quedarnos una pulcra producción en aras de introducirse a nuevos seguidores sin duda más cercanos al Aor de los peores Elo–Fleetwood Mac que a la Psicodelia. Digamos que la esencia permanece, pero el sonido no nos convence en absoluto. Y por cierto: la portada es un espanto.
“After coming back from a hiatus with 2016’s Distance Inbetween, a heavy, guitar-based album that reestablished the band and expanded their sound from their usual ’60s worship to include some sounds from the ’70s, the Coral did what they do best on their next record and made a creative left turn. Released in 2018, Move Through the Dawn gets rid of the furious guitar soloing, the pounding rhythms that felt like they were forged in a foundry, and the free-flowing arrangements that relied on lots of first takes to get a live feel. Instead, most of the record has the carefully constructed feel of an ’80s Jeff Lynne production, with clipped drums, layered acoustic and electric guitars, and sonic touches like Mellotron and super-clean vocal harmonies. The first three songs sound like they could have been on a Traveling Wilburys album; “Eyes Like Pearls” and “Reaching Out for a Friend” have a loose-limbed, good-natured spirit whose warmth isn’t constrained by the boxy production, while “Sweet Release” is a punchy robo-rocker that sounds simple on the surface but has the kind of hook that gets lodged deep in the brain. James Skelly‘s vocals fit well in the updated surroundings; he delivers the songs here just as powerfully as he did on their more folk-psych offerings of the past. He soars over the sweeping tracks like “Strangers in the Hollow” with an almost breathtaking ease, while digging deep for some grit when that’s called for, as on the bouncy “Love or Solution.”
Despite the new tricks the Coral proudly display on the record, they haven’t totally forsaken their old ways, and some of the songs break free just a bit from the (semi) modern studio techniques. The mystical ballad “Eyes of the Moon” has their trademark rootsy ramble and nicely ghostly background sounds, “Outside My Window” heads back to the late ’60s for some murky nocturnal psych, “Stormbreaker” brings the power and AOR-friendly heaviness of Distance back into the mix, and “After the Fair” is a very pretty acoustic ballad that shows the bandmembers at their tenderest, then drenches them in Mellotron for good measure. These non-pop moments help balance the rest of the album’s almost oppressive catchiness and remind the listener that the Coral are a gently weird band who like to stay elusive. They change styles from record to record — sometimes song to song — like some people change their profile pics, but they never lose the qualities, like top-notch songcraft, well-built arrangements, and Skelly‘s voice, that make them a great guitar pop band. They may have done some drastic reshuffling and tried some new things on Move Through the Dawn, but it’s a Coral record at its core and it’s one of their most satisfying, too” (All Music)