THEIR debut album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize the day after it was released, a record company was created around them and they were hailed as the saviours of indie music – all before The Coral reached their 21st birthdays.
It has been a whirlwind 10 years for the unassuming Hoylake lads so it was no surprise they’ve been taking a bit of time out over the last few years.
A number of solo projects have followed, tinged with the retrospective indie, spacey, guitar-based psychedelia.
Now drummer Ian Skelly is about to release his debut album, Cut From A Star.
“It's a psychedelic album that I have been working on for sometime now,” says Ian. “It features a few different musicians and is colourful sounding, with layered guitars and keyboard landscapes.”
The music is deliberately lo-fi – it copies the techniques of 60s and 70s recording, achieved by using a Tascam tape cassette machine, tracked vocals and layered guitars.
“I have been working on various tracks for the last two years, on and off between recording and touring as The Coral,” says Ian. “Most of the album was recorded on an 8 track Tascam in late night sessions after Coral rehearsals.
“Cut from a Star the title track was an old Coral tune but we never got the right angle on it. It was written by me and our Jay (Coral singer and Ian’s brother James Skelly) for an album called The Curse Of Love.
“That album was shelved when Bill (former guitarist Bill Ryder Jones) rejoined the band and we started work on a new album Roots and Echoes.
“I thought the track was great so reworked and re-recorded it.”
There are plenty of guest musicians on the album – as well as James Skelly, there’s Coral musicians Paul Duffy, Nick Power and Lee Southall as well as singer/songwriter Miles Kane.
“I'm just putting a band together at the moment,” says Ian. “When the band is solid I will be doing live dates.”
Is this the end for The Coral?
“No, The Coral are still together,” says Ian. “We are just taking a break from the music – not from each other.
“We are all playing on our Jay’s new solo album, which is sounding really good. The Coral does have new material. We have half an album which has been recorded with John Leckie.’’
What advice would he give to a young Wirral musician starting out today?
“I'd say be a banker or a lawyer,” he laughs. “That's a hard question because the music industry has changed so much over the last 10 years.
“I would say only do it for the love of playing music and if you’re good enough the rest should come.”
Cut From A Star by Ian Skelly is out next month.