Exposé Online banner

Coralspin — Honey and Lava
(Altrospire 0001, 2012, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-06-18

Honey and Lava Cover artMany bands seem to be looking back at the art rock of the late 70s lately (Moth Vellum, Mars Hollow, and so on). Besides the nostalgia factor, there was a directness and visceral appeal in the better songs of bands like The Cars and Ambrosia that still works in this era of over-produced image music. British outfit Coralspin are one such band. Their debut presents eight relatively compact tracks that follow a conventional verse-chorus-bridge structure, but employ enough hooks and instrumental flourishes to engage the listener. The quintet follows the standard prog rock lineup, though singer Ellie Blyth also doubles on keyboards which adds depth to the sonic palette. Instrumentally the band is superb, from the rhythm section of Steve Kightley and David English to Blake McQueen’s synths to Jake Simmons’ feisty guitar attack. When they lock in on rockers like “Sky’s End,” they put many of their peers on notice. Sadly I can’t say the same for Ellie Blyth’s singing. For starters, few of the arrangements mesh well with her particular style, which sounds like it would be more at home in a choir. Her best work is on songs like “Sons of the Sleeping Forest,” where she and the band evoke Queen or Esquire. Sadly, these are offset by some cringe-worthy moments, as in “Songbird” or the power ballad “Aching.” It’s a shame for a band that is otherwise so well endowed. Still, this album hits a lot of the right notes and I’ll be keeping Coralspin on my radar.

Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Coralspin

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Roger Powell - Fossil Poets – Roger Powell is best known as long-time keyboardist for Utopia as well as his early pioneering synthesizer records (Cosmic Furnace and Air Pocket). Fossil Poets is his first set of new recordings in...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues