Without parallel in handbraking through expectation-counfounding twists and turns for almost two decades, The Coral prove to be the ringmasters of the unforeseen once more as they announce that 85-year old, Ian Murray (aka The Great Muriarty) as guest vocalist on their upcoming TENTH studio album. The spiked apple has fallen squarely at the foot of the family tree in this latest chapter of the band’s story, with Mr Murray being the granddad of founding band members, James and Ian Skelly.
Announcing back in January that they had completed their first, ever double-album, Coral Island, to be released on Fri 30 April 2021, the band alluded to a mysterious, unnamed special guest. Now all can be revealed.
The vividly themed, double album delves into the familiar neverworld of Coral Island, soundtracking the spills of summer and the long shadows of tourist-free winters beside the seaside. Pulling together the strands of roaring Saturday night stories on Side A and the sense of long Sunday longing on Side B, Mr Murray takes centre stage as the record’s seasoned narrator. The band approached the Skelly brothers’ grandad after considering other narrators during recording, including TV legend, Tom O’Connor, the late psychic, Derek Acorah and ex-boxing champion, John Conteh.
Written by the band’s Nick Power, who has also penned the companion book to the album, Over Coral Island, the extensive narration by Mr Murray was recorded in his home on Merseyside before being incorporated into Coral Island as spoken interludes and introductions at Parr Street Studios, Liverpool. It’s the first time that the band has invited any other vocalist aside from James Skelly to take lead vocal duties on any of the band’s studio recordings.
James Skelly says of the guest appearance: “Coral Island is a world of end-of-the-pier day drinkers, kids who get where they shouldn’t, pre-rock and roll macabre jukebox pop and long nights of risky fun by the pitch black sea. It seemed to call for a tour guide of some kind. Our grandad’s voice was an obvious choice to say the words none of us can say without a musical instrument in our hands.”