The Coronas’ thirteen-year journey has definitely been unique. With a handful of multi-platinum selling albums and a huge fan base in their native Ireland, they were just about to embark on a 6 month world tour when a certain unfortunately named virus tried to spoil the party. Thankfully, the band are back with a new album, rescheduled dates and a point to prove.
“The first thing we did was tweet Corona the beer, asking them what their plan was.” states Danny O’Reilly. “When we chat to our mates in bands who have postponed gigs and tours I just remind them it could be worse, you could share a name with the virus!”
Unfortunate monikers aside, The Coronas’ new record True Love Waits marks the start of what is now more than a new chapter in the career of one of Ireland’s biggest, best-loved bands, it’s more like a whole new book.
A quartet for 13 years, last summer The Coronas became a trio when guitarist Dave McPhillips unexpectedly left. Briefly they questioned whether to continue but, once the shock had subsided, something dawned on the Dubliners. If they weren’t the band they used to be, why make music as they always had?
“In retrospect, the shock of Dave leaving the band helped us get a clearer picture of what we wanted the album to be” says Danny O’Reilly, singer and lead songwriter. “When we accepted that we weren’t going to be the same band without him, it was easier to let the songs lead us in ways we wouldn’t have thought of before”
“Rather than replace Dave, we actually contemplated ditching guitars entirely. But instead we opened ourselves up to work with loads of our talented friends, mainly because the songs warranted it, and we had an amazing young producer George Murphy who knew exactly the kind of album we wanted to make.”
“For the first time we used real brass, there are extra guest backing vocalists, guest guitar players and our first featured duet. From early on, the guys encouraged me to use my voice differently, just pushing me to try something that I wouldn’t have done previously”
Two songs had already been recorded in Los Angeles last February, with Hozier and PJ Harvey producer Rob Kirwan, when Danny, bassist Graham Knox and drummer Conor Egan pressed reset. But the album only really began to take shape once a raft of new songs arrived. Key to the process was Danny’s coterie of new co-writers.
“I co-wrote a little on the last two albums and loved it,” says Danny. “This time I was up for anything. I took snippets of ideas to several musician mates, mostly around Dublin and Kerry, to see what we came up with and that’s how we hit on some of the new sounds and different song structures.
“When you’re five albums in, it can be difficult to write differently on your own – you instinctively return to the same patterns. With fresh input, you’re forced down new paths, and it’s also great sharing that excitement in a room when you both know that there’s something special in the idea you’ve just created together”
The title track True Love Waits was written with Cian MacSweeny, frontman of Cork-formed, Dublin-based trio True Tides, one of The Coronas’ favourite bands and their recent support act.
Acoustic guitar and bright synths blend to create an atmosphere of dreamy optimism, while the lyrics – ‘Fuck that, take a chance’ – could as easily apply to The Coronas’ new outlook as a new relationship. Much of the song is the band’s original demo, recorded DIY in Dublin, before being completed in London with producer George Murphy.
“We’ve never kept so much of our demos before,” says Danny, “but what’s great about George is he can see the magic in a moment. There’s a spontaneity to that song which we’d have lost by rerecording it. George engineered our last two albums, so he knows us very well. He’d hone in on the vibes of what we brought him. A lot of the songs had odd arrangements and he understood straight away what we were trying to do.”
Album release July 31st 2020
Pre-order / Pre-save HERE
So Far So Good Records
27th Oct The Deaf Institute, Manchester
30th Oct O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
1st Nov St Luke’s, Glasgow