Deltasonic - 2002 - 42 minutes

Another over-hyped English rock band with a stack of retro influences? The gut response is "Nein danke".

RetroBrit (for want of a better term) is populated by some of the dreariest combos in the history of music, with a roll of shame including the pedestrian likes of Gomez, Oasis, Travis and Ocean Colour Scene. It's a scene whose bible is 'Lennon & McCartney for Dummies', and whose records are as repulsive to true music lovers as they are adorable to record company bosses.

This malaise appears to stop at Hadrian's Wall. Super Furry Animals (Wales) and the Beta Band (Scotland) have thrilled and inspired with recent albums. Perhaps the long-held theory that Scousers are secretly Celts is backed up by the Coral's lively debut.

Their influences, though obvious, are treated with cheery disrepect, pitching Morricone and the Specials in with Eric Burdon on 'Shadows Fall', or taking a jaunty ska-influenced trawl through the post-punk beauty of Blondie on 'Dreaming of You'.

James Skelly and Nick Power's accomplished songs are showcased by reliably exquisite production from Lightning Seed, Ian Broudie. They aren't original or innovative, but the Coral's exuberant trawl through their Dad's record collection casts the same warm glow as a classic black & white movie on the telly at Christmas time. It's like Gomez gone right. Enjoy.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Spanish Main - I Remember When - Shadows Fall - Dreaming of You - Simon Diamond - Goodbye - Waiting for the Heartaches - Skeleton Key - Wild Fire - Bad Man - Calenders and Clocks