The Coral’s recent history has been somewhat strange. Despite being on an indefinite hiatus for the past few years, they released The Curse of Love—an older unreleased album recorded around 2005—in an effort to break the silence. Distance Inbetween, however, marks the true end of their hiatus, and is their first collection of newly written and recorded material in over five years. Unfortunately, the gap between recordings has taken its toll on the final result.
In contrast to the lively psychedelic rock of Butterfly House and The Curse of Love, Distance Inbetween is full of generalised alt rock tracks. The album has its share of moments that almost work, with the percussive focus of Chasing the Tail of a Dream and the short-lived return of psychedelic influences on White Bird helping them stand out. However, the album lacks character in its early stages, where the songs generally find themselves ending before they can work themselves into a proper groove, in turn killing their progression and limiting their identity.
The album’s second half, however, takes some of the first half’s ideas and makes them stronger. Beyond The Sun specifically makes for a more interesting percussive track, with the repetitive beat working with James Skelly’s extended notes and the song’s retro melodies to make something almost hypnotic in style. The haunting, minimal style of She Runs the River also has a larger impact than the first half’s slower track Distance Inbetween, featuring no percussion and instead focusing on vocalised sections and the distant sounds of guitar and harpsichord. The album’s more creative moments show that some thought truly went into the album, even if it features its fair share of low moments.
As a complete package, however, Distance Inbetween feels generic. The Coral’s personality and style is only available on a limited scope across the album, and its high impact moments pale in comparison to what came before. Rather than twisting their style into something great, they made the choice to go for something that sounds easier to swallow, but remains forgettable in the long run. It’s unfortunate that The Curse of Love seemingly had little influence on this album, as the loss of the psychedelic side is what makes the changes in Distance Inbetween so unforgivable.