THE CORONAS Trust the Wire gets 6.5/10

The Coronas
Trust the Wire
So Far So Good 

6.5/10

After more than ten years in the game the longevity and sustained popularity of Irish indie rockers The Coronas is nothing to take lightly. While many of their noughties contemporaries have been broken under the harsh wheel of trending musical cycles, the four piece have stayed on the kart. It’s taken them further than most most would have expected but not necessarily into any new or particularly adventurous territory. Their fifth album Trust the Wire sums up this sentiment pretty candidly. There are no musical leaps of faith here, but rather a confident and well-considered step forward.

After a stint on major label Island Records The Coronas retreated from the bright lights of London to write and record Trust the Wire in an isolated cottage in Dingle on the west coast of Ireland. They reconvened with Eliot James (Two Door Cinema Club, Kaiser Chiefs), the same producer as their 2014 album The Long Way. There is certainly a notion of calmness that underpins this release. While there are a number of sonic elements that you wouldn’t typically expect from a Coronas album they are submerged in the mix with poise and subtlety and they don’t dictate the narrative of the album much.

Opener We Couldn’t Fake It kicks things off with a contemplative vibe, coloured by cinematic and clinically delivered backing vocals. It’s the first taste of frontman Danny O’Reilly’s strong as ever vocal range which is on full show throughout the release. He constantly jumps from a reserved and occasionally breathy lower melody in the verses straight up to a soaring pitch in the choruses. Real Feel is a genuine foot-tapper, opening with the rattle of a cowbell and swelling to a sing-a-long with glam-rock guitar lines shining through the mist of textures.

A Bit Withdrawn crawls along at a slower pace. It’s at about this point you really start to focus on O’Reilly’s lyrics but they don’t tend to sway the listener one way or the other. It all seems sincere enough, although it’s not like there are many hard-hitting lines or themes either. The songs largely seem centred around self-reflection, relationships, friendships and contemplating the bittersweet inevitability of adulthood; “So I faked a smile/It was just in time/At worst I’m not much use to anyone/And at best I’m fine.” Probably the most chin-scratching moment of the album though is the use of the vocoder in the chorus: “I’m not quite as brave as I seem/I’m just too tired to talk/So I nod along/I’m just a bit withdrawn.” It felt unnecessary and a little out of place, but as the album continues you might also find yourself craving some more moments that you weren’t expecting.

The centrepiece of the album is undoubtedly Give me a Minute, with a chorus rising to a summit the remainder of the release seems to descend from. Who We Are follows on nicely as some kind of sad dance number with chirpy high-octave keyboards chiming through. There is a delicate attention to detail throughout the album and no instrument ever seems to overstep the mark. The string sections never demand your attention by playing melodies but instead glide alongside the rest of the sounds to give it more depth and emotion.

The album’s strongest section is followed by the largely innocuous Have No Age and Like it Used to Be. The acoustic-driven Not What You Know feels closer to the Irish folk roots of the act and is a welcome change, while subdued ballad Look at all the Lovers closes off the release on a chord, and a sentiment that seems to hang in the air bereft of any resolve.

As a whole, Trust the Wire is an easy album to ingest. Weighing in at just 36 minutes it’s a neatly packaged production with each of the ten songs falling submissively between the three and four minute marks. But what the album lacks in adventure it makes up for in disciplined consideration that truly plays to the strengths of the group. The charm and personality that has won The Coronas legions of adoring fans has not waned, and if they wrote Trust the Wire with them in mind then it’s pretty hard to argue with the result.

BRAYDEN EDWARDS

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