by Richard Hart
With the summer of 2012 already soaked in English rain, everyone could do with a rain of sunshine. Luckily the new EP by Coastal is suffused with a summery sound that should be a nice tonic to anyone that is currently drying clothes out from another “summer shower”.
Coastal is the stage name of Belfast born musician Paul Fox. He claims the “Strokes”, “Television” and “Beck” as influences and has been compared by a few to the legendary “My Bloody Valentine.”
Paul had previously been involved with Belfast act “Kitty and the Can Openers” but had dropped out of the band. Crumble Blue is his first solo EP and it’s an interesting effort.
A five track EP that showcases a range of musical styles and his overarching musical themes. The comparisons to “MBV” are probably a bit of a stretch but for an EP, it offers some interesting ideas up.
‘Heart of Tin’ opens the EP with a fast beat and a rather upbeat song. The whole song is suffused with a light, dreamy sound. Heart of Tin would probably be quite at home in the background at a party, though its subtle lyrics would probably be missed.
Next up is the more interesting ‘Black Stars / Flash Cars’ which showcases Paul’s lyrics which are strong in this song. Cheeky lyrics are built up in a song about post break up life, climaxing in some surprisingly dark stuff. This all stands in contrast to the floating Beach Boys style sound.
The song ‘The 90’s’ recalls a musical decade when the Brit-Pop sensation was strong. It’s hardly much of a surprise that this song is strongly reminiscent of one of the “Madchester” acts, the Happy Mondays. Again there are clever, cheeky lyrics which twine around a gentle song.
‘Night Moth’ is the most downbeat song on the EP and perhaps as a consequence is one of the weaker songs. Slow and atmospheric, it is a decent chill out song but it really doesn’t catch very strongly in the mind.
Finally the EP finishes with the more ambient and introspective ‘To the End of’. Another sunny and upbeat song that recalls images of summer fields and festivals. It’s a dense song, perhaps where the comparisons to MBV come from but it doesn’t have the intensity of that work.
“Crumble Blue” is a promising EP and a good debut for Paul’s work. It’s strengths are its lyrical inventiveness and the gentle, floating sound which is quite distinctive. However the vocal work is a little quiet and is one of the weaker elements of a good EP, perhaps suggesting that in the long run “Coastal” would be better off with a new lead singer.
We can all use a bit more sunshine at the moment, so “Crumble Blue” is a welcome ray of light.