Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

The Coral

Butterfly House' is the sixth album by The Coral. Now, just think about that for a second. Consider how few British bands in the last ten years have even made it to that stage; and of those few how many are doing anything other than simply releasing records "for the fans", the fire in their hearts having long gone out. This is not The Coral. The Coral are a band reinvigorated. "I think we've made the best album that we've ever made," says James Skelly. "I think it has to be. Or there's no reason for anybody to listen to it." Two facts to immediately consider: 1) This is the first album they have made without Bill Ryder Jones, who left the band in January of 2008; 2) This is the first album they have made post- their 'Singles Collection' of September of that year - a chance to stop and take stock, then draw a line under what has been done and set sights on the future. "If we never did the 'Greatest Hits' thing, the album wouldn't be as good. So it was definitely a part of it," says James. "Going back to all those tunes made you realise, 'Yeah we're a great band, one of the best out there.' It cleared space in our heads and made us feel really positive about the future. We did some new songs for that release, which we produced ourselves, and that gave us loads of confidence to go in do this record. The whole thing was really positive for us." "You can definitely hear that on this one," adds Ian (Skelly). "It was a great experience for us, everyone really positive, and pulling in the same direction. With the last two albums, there are great songs on them, but there was an underlying sadness as well." "Like, on 'The Invisible Invasion', Bill wasn't around for a bit," continues Nick Power. "So then 'Roots & Echoes' was us trying to become a band again, really. Whereas this time everyone was pulling in the same direction and focused. " James: "We'll always reflect where we are as a band. You can't really blag it. You just are what you are." For the writing of 'Butterfly House', The Coral disappeared off to rented cottages in the countryside in the middle of nowhere. This is important to the feel of the album. It is about recapturing the idea of records being a secret, magical place to lose yourself in, to create your own world. You can see it instantly in the imagery of the titles: 'Green Is The Colour', 'Walking In The Winter' and the title track itself. "The whole kind of concept we had was the death of mystery," says Nick. "You know, the 'Butterfly House' itself is supposed to be this place that you make up, that the modern world and all the, like, information and technology in it can't touch." Ian: "Loads of the songs - 'Roving Jewel', 'Coney Island', 'North Parade' and 'Butterfly House' - they all touch on that idea of a loss of innocence." James: "Yeah, there are a lot of metaphors for all that kind of thing. And then when you've got that as a loose concept, it kind of seeps in to what you're writing about. Like the song 'Two Faces', it just evokes imagery of carnivals, or Tarot cards or whatever, and all that kind of thing. Just beautiful, otherworldly things. The album flows from beginning to end, like a journey. That was the idea..." Ian: "We sequenced the album as side one and side two - I don't think any bands our age would do that. But we have to do it the way that we listen to music. And I think there are still people who listen to music in that way too out there, and they'll get it." The new, expansive sound, too, arrived with a trip to the smaller studio in Rockfield studios, armed only with an eight track recorder and the intention of doing demos. "The point where it all fell into place," remembers Ian," was when we were working on 'More Than A Lover', and it was all really busy. So we took a load of the guitar out, and worked on it all night... when we went back to it in the morning, it was like, 'That's the sound of the album.'" "The first songs were that, then 'Walking In The Winter'," says James. "'Walking In The Winter' was more like 'Liezah' or something, but then we got that intro to 'More Than A Lover' and after that, everything shaped towards that, in a way. We wanted the sound to be a bit more widescreen, where everything had a bit more space and depth." With these songs all written, this aesthetic established and all of The Coral pulling in the same direction and feeling really positive about the future and where they were going, the final piece of the 'Butterfly House' puzzle arrived in the shape of legendary producer John Leckie. "People had always said to us, you should work with him," says Nick. "For years people had been saying that. So it all just fell into place." Decamping to RAK studios in London, with all the writing complete, The Coral found in Leckie someone who empathized with their vision and brought both his obvious enthusiasm for the band and his vast experience to the table. In return, given the respect that they had for his legendary work, The Coral embarked on a truly collaborative process. "With the song 'She's Comin' Around'," offers James by way of example, "The bit that's now the chorus was originally the end of this massive chorus. He just said, 'That's shit, lose that,' which you'd never see yourself, but it makes it better. And just getting sounds and stuff, you'd go off for a bit and he gets all these amazing sounds. Or you'd just ask him for something and he'd know exactly what you meant. " The result of all this work is exactly what The Coral wanted: an album that is a complete listening experience, that is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of what this most special of British bands - nay, institutions - are all about. No one else would make a record like this. No one else could. The world is a better place for it. "We've put everything into this," concludes James. "I can look back at this and say I gave everything. There's not one moment that's not committed. Not on any demo or anything. It's the best album we've made and the most committed we've ever made." And that should be recommendation enough to step inside the 'Butterfly House'... Hamish MacBain May 2010

Calle Fuencarral, 35. 2║Izda. 28004 Madrid [España]