We get the Catholic vote!

Here (4th review down):

Another new band, Coralspin comes from England. If the music of Astra harkens back to the late 60s and early 70s, Coralspin has its roots in the early to mid 1980s, especially with its big guitar and big keyboards. Much of the music on this excellent release has the feel of something Trevor Horn or Trevor Rabin might have produced around the time of Yes’s 1984 MTV masterpiece, “90125.” Whether one likes the music of Horn or Rabin or not, no one could honestly dispute the audiophile proclivities of each man. The same can be written of Coralspin’s Blake McQueen. The production of this album is just stunning–this hit me from the first moment I put it in my cd player, and it continues to impress me with each listening. Amazingly enough, almost all of the album was recorded in McQueen’s home, and he later mixed and engineered it. He’s, simply put, a master audiophile. The lyrics on this album are wonderful as well–mythic, pointed, hard, soft. Everything has its place, and its place is good. For what it’s worth, I’m a very proud owner of this CD, and I eagerly await the follow up.

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

Cargo Records to distribute Honey and Lava

Coralspin have signed a one-year contract with UK distributor Cargo Records to distribute CDs of Honey and Lava in the UK.

The official release date is September 24, 2012, although some stores may have copies a little earlier. (You can still buy copies right now from our own web store.)

Overseas distributors and stores are still welcome to contact us regarding buying stock for non-UK markets.

Very nice review at Raw Nerve

This review is by Chris Kee, presumably the same Chris Kee who writes for Powerplay magazine (I say presumably because the Powerplay Chris Kee is a Touchstone fan — hope he’s doing our Powerplay review as well!).

Melodic prog rockers offer up a debut of surprising strengths

Coralspin – Honey And Lava

You may not have heard of Coralspin just yet, but they are an exciting new prog rock proposition and Honey And Lava is their incredibly accomplished debut album.

The band are fronted by one time Oxford Pro Musica Singers chamber choir soloist, Ellie Blythe and her pure, natural voice is one of the most potent elements of the Coralspin sound. Her sweetly melodic tones thread their way through songs that recall the golden eras of prog giants Yes and, in particular, Genesis as well as the early work of Kate Bush. However Coralspin are not just about harking back to the past as there is a definite modern sensibility to their compositions and comparisons can be drawn to the wonderfully accessible sounds of Touchstone and The Reasoning.

As with all great progressively minded music Honey And Lava does not give up all its secrets in one sitting. It’s an album that will grow in your affections with each successive play, warming your heart a little more each time, and thus ensuring its longevity. Brilliantly realised songs like ‘Sky’s End’ and ‘Nightstalker’ showcase the superlative skills of guitarist Jake Simmons and keyboard player Blake McQueen and the intuitive understanding between drummer David English and bassist Steve Knightly to wonderful effect – and underline the huge potential that Coralspin possess.

Hopefully Honey And Lava will be just the start of a long and fruitful career.

Three more

Three more good reviews of Honey and Lava:

The Flame.

Get Ready To Rock — scroll down to bottom (note that there are two websites called this. This is one of them!)

Sweden’s Artrock — in Swedish.

I’m sure that even our most ardent fan has lost interest in reading our reviews by now, so I won’t bother reproducing them here.


Just noticed we’re also on the personal playlist for June of the legendary rock journo Dave Ling.

Thoughtful review at Prog Archives

Another nice review at Prog Archives from a good young reviewer called Conor Fynes who has taken the time to listen to Honey and Lava properly (as did the other reviewer there), even though it wasn’t really his style. (We have more than one review on Prog Archives now because anyone who registers there can submit reviews).

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… Although Jake Simmons’ upbeat riffs are the meat and bones of what the band, the synthwork catches my ear the most… 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… “Honey and Lava” is not an album that typically fits my music taste, but there are some great melodies to be heard here… Coralspin have made their potential clear here; the only way to go is up.

Prog magazine streaking to Coralspin!

A rather ‘revealing’ review in Prog magazine:

Prog magazine review

Not sure who the reviewer ‘RM’ is, as they have three reviewers listed on the masthead with those initials: Rachel Mann, Rhodri Marsden and Rob Monk.

Interestingly this review seemed to be the complete opposite to Geoff Barton’s review in stablemate magazine Classic Rock, in that Geoff hated the first track ‘Sons of the Sleeping Giant’, but thought the album got markedly better after that!

Here’s the text of the review:

A glorious fusion of the chops of Yes, Queen and Kate Bush

Some albums begin so wondrously they make you run naked around the house in sheer delight. Coralspin’s Honey and Lava is one of those. Opener Sons of the Sleeping Giant is a monstrous piece of old school prog like Yes on steroids with the drive of Led Zep in Kashmir mode and the bombast of Queen. Here Ellie Blyth’s piercing vocals operate in territory usually reserved for chaps like Jon Anderson. Coralspin maintain this quality with prog-ballad You’re Wrong, a track edging close to cloying sentimentality, yet with hints of both Renaissance and Queen at their most lush. The rest of album is slightly less convincing. Mistimed and Sky’s End are pleasant, essentially straightforward rock workouts, the latter featuring staggering guitar work from Jake Simmons. Blyth’s voice – like Kate Bush’s – may well split the audience. Blyth’s less edgy than Bush, and her contralto risks becoming repetitve and samey. But doubters should check out the elegant and beautiful Songbird, and in places she just dazzles. Fans of keyboard-driven prog will find a serious feast here, though the first two tunes are the most likely to lead to streaking.