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CORALSPIN

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Coralspin biography
UK act CORALSPIN have been around in one form or another since 2006, with a core set of members that includes Ellie Blyth (vocals, keyboards), Blake McQueen (keyboards) and Jake Simmons (guitars). They self released their debut album "Honey and Lava" in the spring of 2012.

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Honey & LavaHoney & Lava
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3.02 | 12 ratings
Honey and Lava
2012

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CORALSPIN Reviews


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 Honey and Lava by CORALSPIN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.02 | 12 ratings

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Honey and Lava
Coralspin Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UK band CORALSPIN has been around for a good few years by now, the earliest incarnation formed at least as far back as 2006 and possibly even earlier. "Honey and Lava" is their debut album, and was officially released in the fall of 2012 courtesy of UK label Cargo Records. As with many other artists these days this is a unit focusing on the present and future rather than the past.

If you tend to enjoy bands such as Ambrosia and Rush at their most friendly, then Coralspin is a band you should have good reason to check out, especially if you have a soft spot for vocalists with a distinct personal style that many would describe as unique to a lesser or greater extent ? in this case female lead vocals with a certain theatrical and operatic flair.

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 Honey and Lava by CORALSPIN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.02 | 12 ratings

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Honey and Lava
Coralspin Crossover Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Coralspin's "Honey and Lava" is a new prog album from a three piece that have created a rather inspired debut. Highlights include 'Sons of the Sleeping Giant' with its muscular guitar riff that grabs me after a few listens. The vocals here are great reminding me a bit of the glam rock style of Brian Connolly of The Sweet. The vibrato is similar, and the low tone of the vocals is better when Ellie Blyth does not go for the high register. She is great on keyboards, as is Blake McQueen. The heavier aspect of the band are in the guitars at the hands of Jake Simmons. Other musicians consist of Steve Knightley on bass, and David English on drums, who have since left the group.

'You're Wrong' is also wonderful and has some nice keyboard and a driving rhythm. Unfortunately, I am no fan of the vocal style on Alt rocker 'Mistimed' or 'Burn My Eyes' as it is in the high register and does not sound on key at times. However, Simmons' lead guitar soling on the latter track is glorious.

'Songbird' has a nice melody on piano and gentle vocals though I tend to dislike the style on this, which feels like a traditional pop song. 'Night Stalker' is way better with really nice keyboards, a Blue Oyster Cult guitar rhythm, and those pitchy vocals dominate. The lead break again really shines, and shows the dexterity of Simmons.

'Aching' closes the album, with gentle piano intro, soft vox, with melancholy lyrics such as "praying that the day will take me in your arms". It meanders along without much variation, though moves to a nice instrumental break of guitar and keyboard trade offs.

Overall, "Honey and Lava" is a decent album that plays it safe and yet has some prog elements. It is a promising start and I am glad I was able to hear this, especially the excellent 2 opening tracks, that shows the promise of greater more consistent releases to come.

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 Honey and Lava by CORALSPIN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.02 | 12 ratings

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Honey and Lava
Coralspin Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Honey and Lava' - Coralspin (6/10)

Although my progressive listening journey has tended to veer towards more of the left-field and strange, it's refreshing to hear a band that takes the sounds of my favourite genre, and structures them in such a way that makes it accessible and instantly enjoyable to hear. Coralspin's "Honey and Lava" is perhaps a little tame for its own good, but listeners looking for some melody in their prog rock won't find themselves disappointed with this promising band.

Coralspin have drawn some comparisons with Yes from other reviewers, although I'm more inclined to identify them as a cross between Rush's more melodic output, and the more rocking material from Genesis' 'pop' era. To call it a more guitar-driven incarnation of the neo-prog sound may also do well to describe where Coralspin are with "Honey and Lava". Nothing they do is particularly outside-the-box or 'weird', but their varied approach to melodic prog rock can make them difficult to pinpoint. Although the guitar and rhythm section keep within a general AOR framework, the voice of Ellie Blyth and versatile keyboards give the album a more unpredictable edge.In what almost feels like an oddity in rock music, Coralspin employs the talents of two keyboards (Blyth and Blake McQueen) and only one guitar. Although Jake Simmons' upbeat riffs are the meat and bones of what the band, the synthwork catches my ear the most. Although Coralspin's core 'rock' sound changes little over the course of "Honey and Lava", listeners can expect to hear McQueen and Blyth run the gamut from Baroque-style harpsichord textures to moog, 'symphonic' orchestration and the simple touch of the grand piano.

I agree wholeheartedly with other reviewers that Ellie's voice will likely be the 'love or hate' element of Coralspin that will get people talking. She's certainly a good singer, with a voice that treads halfway between a traditional female rock performance and the stark resonance of classical opera. Her voice has plenty of potential, and I do not hesitate to say that she could be excellent with a little more polish. As it stands, there are times here when I'm really impressed by her firm style and range, but she lacks consistency. The album's opener and quasi-epic highlight "Sons of the Sleeping Giant" introduces her as a lower pitched, eerie voice that instantly reminded me of Grayceon's Jackie Perez-Gratz. As the album goes on, her voice settles in a more comfortable high range. However, from song to song, the amount of passion seems to fluctuate. The Phil Collins-esque ballad "You're Wrong" features some great vocals, whereas the album's saccharine low-point "Songbird" is filled with notes that just don't feel right, although the sappy love-lyrics don't help matters.

The album starts off fairly strong in terms of songwriting, although it slowly becomes less interesting as it goes on. Fortunately, "Aching" is there to pick things up again, ending the album on a tender note. Coralspin's sense of songwriting never feels particularly adventurous, but it's usually quite well done. If anything, they certainly know how to incorporate the two keyboards into their sound. The album suffers from a fairly mechanical sense of production, but the studio weaknesses sound more a result of budget and experience rather than lack of effort. As I mentioned, "Sons of the Sleeping Giant" is the certain highlight, and it would be nice to hear Coralspin take this more progressive approach in future endeavours. "Honey and Lava" is not an album that typically fits my music taste, but there are some great melodies to be heard here. It's far from a perfect or masterful album, but Coralspin have made their potential clear here; the only way to go is up.

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 Honey and Lava by CORALSPIN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.02 | 12 ratings

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Honey and Lava
Coralspin Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars Being this a debut album, let's first spend few words in general before going track by track.

======================================================================= The band is a trio which includes Keyboards, guitar and vocals plus two sessionmen at bass and drums. This means that the rhythmic parts are not much developed even if very present. =======================================================================

NOTE: I have totally mistaken the above sentence. The two "sessionmen" were effective band members who have left the band for personal reasons. My impression about the rhythm section was conditioned by this misunderstanding. Apologies to the bassist and the drummer. The whole sentence above is wrong but I prefer correcting myself instead of just deleting it.

The vocals of Ellie Blyth are high pitched and while my very first impression was a remind to Jon Anderson, listening better the singing appear closer to Chris Squire, but the band doesn't sound too much like the YES.

The opener is one of the most rocking songs, with heavy guitar counterbalanced by Wakemanian keyboards. It's the only one song in the album on which we can hear a possible YES influence specially in the changes of signature. It's a good melodic song which lies somewhere between Symphonic and Neo-prog.

More melody comes with the piano of "You're Wrong", seconded by a very deep bass. No more YES now. I don't know why exactly, but this band brings to my mind the Finnish NURKOSTAM. It takes a while to get used to Blyth's voice but once done the real value of the songs can be appreciated.

"Mistimed" is opened by vocals now more similar to Jimmy Sommerville but the song doesn't have anything of Bronsky Beat. From a musical point of view this is one of the sings better arranged and I like the final with the pitch going up a couple of time enhancing the crescendo.

"Burn My Eyes" is more "eclectic". The passages are quite unusual. The sequence of chords reminds me to bands like FAMILY but there an interlude that cries "TRANSATLANTIC" comes a couple of times to increase the listening pleasure.

"Sky's End" has a neo-prog start but goes uptime with a funky guitar. There's a lot of funk to enjoy. It's a very good guitar performance on a song which is very rousing specially in the instrumental part.

"Songbird" has a structure similar to "You're Wrong", with piano and vocals leading the melody later joined by the other instruments. A pop-oriented song showing influences from MARILLION but also from ABWH.

"Night Stalker" is a title that gives the idea of what is coming. This song has a late 70s flavor. DOOBIE BROTHERS; EAGLES, ELO, but also WISHBONE ASH...I hope I'm giving you the idea. A rock song with a bit of funk. Quite a surprise. Put it in your car and drive.

Piano again for the closer. An unusual sequence of chords like in "Burn My Eyes" but more melodic. CARAVAN is the band which comes to my mind with this mixture of melody and pitch changes. Effectively the whole song has a Canterbury flavor. On the final I also think to Pohjola's WIGWAM. An excellent final for the album which shows so many influences that is like saying "no influences". It's closed by the best song, but all the album is good.

It's a promising band, technically I would suggest a bit more reverb on the voice but I may easily be wrong. The album shows good qualities, the band has personality. Let's see what the future will bring.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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