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

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Court - And You'll Follow the Winds Rush 'Till Their Breath Dwells – From the opening notes of "Rising the Tale" – a short instrumental interlude that opens the disc, it's apparent that this new Italian neo-progressive band has traveled a different...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues