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Coronet Blue - Welcome to the Arms of Forever

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 25 / 10 / 2007



Coronet Blue - Welcome to the Arms of Forever
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD

intro

Long overdue second album from power pop supergroup Coronet Blue which, fronted by singer John Rooney, also features appearances from producer and guitarist Mitch Easter, the Faces' Ian McLagen and Free and Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke


Last time out John Rooney (The Lonely Hearts) was joined on vocals by Anthony Bautovich who also co-composed some of the songs on that album (titled simply ‘Coronet Blue’). This time there is no mention of Bautovich in the writing credits or as a singer or musician. But instead Rooney has assembled a supergroup of sorts. And for those of you who think I am quoting directly off the press release you are wrong. The sticker on the CD case lists the musicians Rooney chose for this project (Mitch Easter, Don Dixon, Simon Kirke and Ian McLagan) which in anyone’s eyes (or more importantly myears) means that some major talent has been employed for this album. But more than that these twelve songs walk all over that debut, good as that was. Or to be more correct eleven songs as the short ‘Interlude # 2’ is just that…a very short instrumental by the Camel City Strings. This time the only other musician who featured on ‘Coronet Blue’ apart from Rooney and Easter who makes a reappearance here is Jamie Hoover. Yep, Easter, Dixon and Hoover what other word than supergroup could be used? Even if the songs weren’t totally up to scratch then with those three immeasurable talents add in ex Small Face / Faces / Billy Bragg Bloke / keyboard player Ian McLagan coupled with former Free / Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke and you’d be hard pushed not to come up with something at least halfway decent. But the fact is that Rooney has a hand in writing ten of these twelve songs and each and every one of them is a minor classic. The ghost of Easter’s old chums REM can still be heard hovering over some of these songs and that can only be a good thing. If you are looking for classic rock/pop with one foot firmly placed in the classic pop of the mid to late sixties and the other solidly standing in 2007 then look no further. It may have taken him 8 years to follow up the debut Coronet Blue album but in this case it was well worth the wait. The album opens with ‘Waiting For My Baby’ and those sixties influences really shine here. With exceptional guitar courtesy of Mr. Easter this is something of a power pop classic in the making. The only female credited with contributing backing vocals is one Georgina Johnston who also plays the flute so I assume that it is Georgina who is taking the female parts on this song and also on the next song, ‘Looks Like Love’, (an all together more laid back affair with wailing harmonica adding unexpected texture) and whoever hit upon the idea of Georgina adding those vocals is onto a winner; her voice compliments Rooney’s perfectly. Maybe it’s the passing years but there’s a lot more texture to these songs than those that comprised that debut album. All the power pop favourites were mentioned when discussing the debut (including Big Star and The Raspberries). This time there is a lot more going on than straightforward power pop. The title track, ‘Welcome To The Arms Of Forever’ is a good example. A string laden ballad with soaring guitar work from Easter which just now brings to mind the work of Funkadelic’s Eddie Hazel on ‘Maggot Brain’. It opens like something the Moody Blues might have recorded in the seventies before Rooney turns in what must be one of his best vocal performances. The chorus lifts the song to another level before Easter takes control and takes off to another planet with his guitar part. It ends all too soon as all good songs should. On any other album that song would be the highlight but the fact is that this collection is chock full of little gems so pointing out one song in particular is not just difficult it’s pointless. The two songs that Rooney didn’t have a hand in writing are surprisingly good. ‘You Don’t Sleep At Night’ features Georgina Johnson on vocals again, is full of heavenly harmonies and will have you humming the tune long after the song has finished. Yet again Easter adds some stunning guitar work. Is it just me who hasn’t noticed before or has this man been an underrated guitarist for far too long? So Coronet Blue has given us 47 minutes of pop heaven. They draw sounds and textures from the 60's and make them sound fresh in 2007. ‘No Kiss Goodbye’ which recalls REM more than any other song on the album is a current favourite and that song could have been made any time in the last four decades. It is simply perfect. ‘Listen Once’ closes the album and Rooney and co take a harder stance on this last song, again it’s an unforgettable melody and again Easter all but steals the show with his guitar playing. This album simply demands to be heard by any one who enjoys well crafted pop music ; just don’t leave it so long next time Rooney and let’s hope that this ‘supergroup’ stays together for more than just this one album.



Track Listing:-
1 Waiting for My Baby
2 Looks Like Love
3 Welcome to the Arms of Forever
4 The Point
5 Sorrow Street
6 You Don't Sleep At Night
7 Interlude #2
8 Promises
9 No Kiss Goodnight
10 Ain't It Strange
11 Make No Mistake
12 Listen Once


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/CoronetBlueMusic
http://www.coronetblue.com/


Label Links:-
http://www.laughingoutlaw.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/laughingoutlawrecordsandmanagement
https://laughingoutlaw.bandcamp.com/



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