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THE CORAL and CILLIAN MURPHY are ‘Oceans Apart’

Freedom reigns in the world of The Coral after almost 30 years as a band, adding concepts and collaborators to faintly-pencilled wish lists, and now another layer of intrigue embedded into upcoming album, Sea Of Mirrors’ reveals itself with the release of Ocean’s Apart – featuring a walk-on part by actor, Cillian Murphy.

Denoting a new phase of prolifcacy within the incomparable band of world-creating psych-folk-pop wanderers, The Coral announced not one, but TWO ALBUMS earlier this year, both for release on the same day this September. At the same time they revealed that the actor had been involved in the recording of Sea Of Mirrors’ closing track, helping to see out the vividly-imagined Italian Western soundtrack that never was.

The gangplank of Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show, a physical formats-only album that leads listeners from 2021’s No.2 chart success double album, Coral Island to their newest long-player, was similarly blessed with the voice of actor John Simm. The band revealed his narrated contribution to Drifter’s Prayer earlier this month.

The result of off-the-cuff remarks in the studio, happenstance and the contact book of the album’s co-producer, Sean O’Hagan, Murphy agreed to narrate spoken word verses as Ocean’s Apart’s slow-building, swirling, string-laden album finale comes to a close, using words written by the band’s keyboard player, frequent songwriter and poet, Nick Power.

With the band describing the track as ‘the bohemian rhapsody Queen would’ve written if, instead of touring the world, they stayed in watching cinecittà studios films and listening to Gene Clark’, the song’s drama is borne of studio sessions riven with playful levity and unending possibility.

Singer and songwriter, James Skelly adds: “Once everybody had put their parts on the track. Sean suggested we have some dialogue over the outro and said he’d done the soundtrack to Cillian Murphy’s first film, so he had a contact. A few weeks later I got an email from Cillian saying he was a fan and would be up for helping us.

“We discussed the character and how I saw it as a once great star like Buster Keaton or Bella Lagosi on the set of a low-budget B movie, looking back thinking: ‘How did I get here?’ I sent him what Nick had written and then left it up to him to do his thing and when we put what he sent us over the music it fitted perfectly.”

As revealed at the time of launching Sea Of Mirrors, it was unplanned writing and recording sessions, with the main aim of being the last band to record an album at the now-closed, legendary Liverpool studios, Parr Street, which revealed two albums worth of new material to The Coral. With one collection of songs pooling to form the soundtrack to the arcane film scenes already scrolling through Skelly’s head, it was a script written by Power and inspired, vintage foyer-card artwork developed by drummer, Ian Skelly, which became the Sea Of Mirror’s sleeve design, which concreted-in the album’s rich concept.

As well as bringing in heavyweights of stage and screen to guest on the albums, a bonus flexi disc exclusive to Rough Trade shops finds Love guitarist, Johnny Echols voicing the liner notes for the album, again writen by Power. On Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show, the Great Muriarty returns, a.k.a Ian and James Skelly’s grandard, having been the celebrated narrator of Coral Island itself.

Both albums are released on Run On Records in assoc. with Modern Sky UK on Fri 8 September 2023 with Sea Of Mirrors avalable in multiple, limited-edition and standard vinyl formats as well as CD, cassette and digital. Fans and collectors will only be able to get their hands on copies of Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show on single-pressing physical vinyl, CD and cassette formats.

Running headlong into the release of their 11th an 12th albums, 21 years after the release of their self-titled debut, The Coral’s legendary status in British music is assured by their run of hit singles including Dreaming Of You (now on over 100 million streams globally and securing UK Platinum status), Pass It On, Don’t Think You’re The First and In The Morning. Six of their previous albums have reached the Top 10 including Coral Island and 2003’s No.1 chart success, Magic and Medicine which saw the band nominated for Best Group at the Brit Awards.
The Coral is James Skelly, Ian Skelly, Nick Power, Paul Duffy and Paul Molloy.

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