July 31, 2020 The Coronas – True Love Waits (Album Review)
Brushing aside unfortunate connotations relating to current events, Irish quartet The Coronas will release True Love Waits on July 31st through their imprint SoFarSoGood Records, backed by Blix Street Records.
Coming together at the turn of the millennium, the band formed first as Kiros, then Corona, before adjusting slightly to The Coronas for legal reasons. Assembled long before the latest pandemic, and wholly separate from the familiar Mexican beer, in case you were wondering, the band took their name from the Smith-Corona typewriter used by William Miller; the alter ego of Director Cameron Crowe in 2000’s Almost Famous.
The original lineup was direct descendant of the Ireland’s famed Black musical family Danny O’Reilly on vocals, Dave McPhillips on guitar, Graham Knox on bass, and Conor Egan on drums. Then, as production wrapped for True Love Waits, McPhillips announced his amicable departure in late 2019, citing the grind of touring. Between that news, and the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, True Love Waits has been granted extra time to settle in the ears of listeners.
Until an the ability of arena-scaling live presence that The Coronas are known for, True Love Waits must live inside heads, hearts, and ears of all. That in mind, the job is done well enough – think the upwardly crumbling feelings of The National mixed with the quiet bursts of tension reminiscent of contemporary Anathema. The band again touches on topics that surround separation; not a full break-up, but also not a solid point of a relationship, nor the early period of chasing. Something like, say, “I Think We Jinxed It,” where O’Reilly laments over the mistakes made, the miscues, the longing, the poor interpretations that cannot be explained away, all while a scratchy guitar keeps fresh the wound the lyrics are meant to close. A similar guitar vibe returns with “Find the Water” as the vocals showcase a decision gone wrong.
Later, “Need Your Presence,” makes use of a subdued electronic beat to make a steadier case for fair recompense. This allows O’Reilly soar near-monosyllabically to let raw emotion make his case rather than crafted verse. Mixed in are tracks like “Light Me Up,” which crams a box-set’s worth of emotion and characters into a brisk three-minute track, and “Never Ending (On Your Side),” which attempts to bring life writ large into focus, leaving the future of the relationship as an obvious side effect.
Then, as the album settles into its groove, the title of the record begins to come into focus: True Love Waits, with patient passion, rather than awaits, as if there is a pre-destined outcome, free from interference or effort. English siren Gabrielle Aplin crosses the Irish Sea to make the band a quartet again, lending her English sensibilities on “Lost in the Thick of It,” a song which alternates between rich instrumentation and subtle voice and clap work by the paired vocalists. Lastly, “LA at Night” wraps the journey up with a sparse, piano-driven plea that implores you to dismiss all that has been. Before long, the track ends, and with it, the staunch collection of lullabies, aimed straight at the heart of wronged lovers, mended hearts, and bruised egos everywhere.
Overall, The Coronas have solidified their hold on this wing of the musical landscape, and True Love Waits is another compact entry for their impressive portfolio. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.