From the Midlands to the Sea

Another couple of nice reviews of Honey and Lava (I know I gave the impression that I wasn’t going to put any more reviews up, but if you can’t post good reviews at your own website then where can you?)

The Midlands Rocks:

It takes a good progressive rock band to write a seven minute track that doesn’t for one moment feel bloated. Thank the heavens above then that Coralspin are a good progressive rock band. In ‘Sons of the Sleeping Giant’, the band boldly opens ‘Honey and Lava’ with the longest track on the record, though a quite excellent guitar riff running through at the song’s core makes it a memorable start. ‘You’re Wrong’ is another example of outstanding musicianship, with Ellie Blyth’s haunting voice delivering a fine chorus that 99% of bands can only wish they had written. Prog-rock or not, fans of any genre could surely appreciate the quality of the album’s highlight.

The production of ‘Honey and Lava’ is excellent taking into account that keyboard player Blake McQueen built not only the studio but the computers that the songs were recorded on. A real professional job has been done here; giving a suitable platform for Coralspin’s cultured sound to really thrive.

The synth-led ‘Mistimed’ is another majestic piece of music, before ‘Burn My Eyes’ and ‘Sky’s End’ prove that Coralspin are by no means one trick ponies. An elevated tempo gives ‘Burn My Eyes’ a sense of freshness, with lyrics such as ‘take my sword and pierce my side, a crown of thorns, then bleed me dry’ testament to McQueen’s sharp song writing. ‘Sky’s End’, co-written by guitarist Jake Simmons, is a track of many layers, punctuated by a skilled guitar solo in the midst of more expert vocals from the trained classical and opera singer Blyth, whilst an assortment of electronic sounds almost go unnoticed as they subtly play over the song’s surface… The tagline on the band’s website promises ‘beautiful, barnstorming modern prog rock’, and for the most part that is exactly what you get with ‘Honey and Lava’. Of course, the genre in question isn’t one renowned for the instant gratification that it gives to its listeners, and this is another example of a prog album that grows with every play, seemingly offering something different every time. Though some of the choice tracks are fairly immediate, only repeated listens can do this collection full justice.

Even if all you do is check out ‘Sons of the Sleeping Giant’, ‘You’re Wrong’ and ‘Sky’s End’, make sure you do so. Coralspin have a lot to offer, and not just to hardened prog fans. 7 out of 10

Sea of Tranquility (second review of us they’ve down — scroll down to see):

A classy keyboard soaked melodic prog debut from this three piece, Coralspin are comprised of Ellie Blyth (vocals and keyboards), Blake McQueen (keyboards) and Jake Simmons (guitar) with auxiliary members in drummer David English and bassist Steve Kightley. Skilfully combining seductive, commercial, pop sensibilities with expansive prog trademarks makes for an appealing debut album that, as befitting an album with the title Honey And Lava, more often than not provides a warm and engaging experience. There are shades of latter day Marillion on the seven minute opener “Sons Of The Sleeping Giant” where Ellie Blyth’s rich vocals make a welcome first impression. The synth led “Mistimed” and immediate, riff friendly “Night Stalker” are the most accessible and insistent, showcasing the bands more contemporary influences alongside their prog-led traditions. The sublime piano and vocal introduction to “Aching” find Coralspin pushing the boundaries still further with its injection of quirky jazz-infused overtures.

A promising start then, and one that certainly suggests both a bright and intriguing future for this trio. 3 1/2 stars

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