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Butterfly House
The Coral Butterfly House
Released 12 July 2010
Producer John Leckie
Label Deltasonic
Length 42:29
Genre Indie rock
Website www.thecoral.co.uk

When a band gets to their sixth album and start proclaiming it to be the best they’ve made, it’s generally a sign to start worrying. Add in to the mix the three year gap since the last studio album and the departure of lead guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones in the interim and you start to wonder if they are trying to convince themselves or us of the quality of the album. Well fear not, with the help of John Leckie on production duties (who’s impressive CV includes producing The Stone Roses’ self titled debut as well as Radiohead’s The Bends), The Coral have continued their fine run of form creating first rate albums.

Butterfly House continues on from Roots & Echoes’ mature, reflective sound, drawn from experience. For all the fun of the earlier albums, this just feels more intimate and personal without being in your face. The loneliness and longing is hinted at in songs like album opener 'More Than A Lover' and 'Walking In The Winter', never focusing on being hard done by, instead musing what could have been.

It’s not all pessimism though, lead single '1000 Years', is the perfect summer song. Its sun drenched harmonies and upbeat tempo just beg for it to be played at every gathering you manage to fit in during the cloud breaks. Title track, 'Butterfly House', sounds like an unused song from Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds, complete with a Richard Burton styled voice over and an over the top, prog-rock guitar outro. Perhaps the likeness is accidental, but given their penchant for retro influences, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a tongue in cheek tribute.

Special praise though, is reserved for 'Two Faces', a perfect piece of pop magic in the same league as 'Pass It On' and 'Dreaming Of You'. With its deceptively simple Beatles-esque beat, a heartbreaking breakdown in the middle followed by an uplifting end, it’s one of those songs that burrows its way into your head and refuses to leave.

Butterfly House doesn’t pander to the masses, with an almost admirable stubbornness The Coral continue to produce the kind of music they want to hear, shying away from the obvious anthems other bands rely on. The fallout from this is that the doubters aren’t going to find anything here to change their mind on what they perceive to be a gimmicky band stuck in a time warp, the believers will rejoice in what is a statement of intent by one of the more interesting rock bands around today.

- Brian Kinsella