THE CORONAS’ extraordinary fifth album may surprise their army of fans. A sonic leap-on from its predecessors, Trust the Wire sees the award-winning, arena-conquering Irish band fuse their arms-aloft melodic pop with lush electronics, spine-tingling atmospherics and a new-found sense of adventure. It’s released on their own label So Far So Good Records on 23rd June 2017.
From its tightrope-walking title to the content of its lyrics to its bold production, Trust the Wire brims with self-belief. Written on the quartet’s return to their native Dublin after almost four years away, it captures the focus they found in leaving home, the fresh perspective it gave them and a soaring maturity in their songwriting.
A decade on from their debut, having toured the world, topped the charts and surpassed their teenage dreams, it’s no surprise that The Coronas are surer of their strengths and readier to take risks. Trust the Wire fizzes with ambition, often in ways you wouldn’t expect from a band famed for their sing-alongs. Acoustic guitars still feature, but take a back seat to synths and organs. There’s both a subtlety and a stately grandeur to songs that now swell in size and scope, rather than bound straight to big. Dreamy vocoder vocals, electronic drums and space as much as sound make for mesmerising music that steeps the listener in lyrics that are as searingly honest as ever, but more intimate and inward-looking than before.
After a rollercoaster three years, including a stint on a major label before deciding to do things their own way, spellbinding first single ‘We Couldn’t Fake It’ recounts the band’s realisation that they were right to trust their instincts, rather than be swayed by a label only seeking sales. The hypnotically-beautiful ‘Give Me A Minute’ is actually about Danny feeling antisocial after a gig, but sounds like a romantic statement of intent. Ditto the spectral ‘A Bit Withdrawn’, which is about misconceptions, but could be a plea to a lover.
The album’s title, taken from a line in the broody, dramatic closing track ‘Look At All The Lovers’, reflects the recurring theme of self-belief and sums up a band both acknowledging their achievements to date and stepping out of their comfort zone to tackle new challenges.
“The full lyric is, Would you be willing to close your eyes/Trust the wire,” says Danny. “Like a tightrope walker who doesn’t need to see the next step, they just know. It’s about believing that what feels right will work and going for it. If you don’t trust your instincts, you’ll never move on. This is our fifth album. It would be easy for us to stick with a sound because it’s worked for us in the past. But that doesn’t excite us. Discovering what we’re capable of as a band, knowing that we can grow and get better is what makes us want to keep doing this.”
Trust the Wire was written last summer at a rented house in Dingle. “It’s a beautiful, isolated place where we’ve been going our whole lives,” says Danny. The band then returned to London and Notting Hill’s Eastcote Studios to record with producer Eliot James (Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club), with whom they made The Long Way.
“It’s the first time we’ve used the same producer twice,” says Danny. “We love Eliot’s ideas. There’s a trust between us. He knows that we’re prepared to push the boundaries and how to help us do that. There were songs on The Long Way that introduced synths and new sounds and we wanted to continue with that, but take it further. Eliot encouraged us to experiment with techniques and pick up instruments we’d never played before. What instruments? Different keyboards and drum machines mostly. We weren’t in there trying to learn the trumpet.”
Trust the Wire may mark the start of a new chapter in The Coronas’ career, but some of the hallmarks of the band’s previous albums remain, not least the glorious, soaring choruses and lyrics that lend themselves to being howled back. The album’s second single, ‘Real Feel’, is a rousing, festival-ready summer anthem, while ‘Gut Feeling’ is a piano-driven, sunshine-soaked ode to trusting your instincts. ‘I Have No Age’ is ‘70s-tinged electronic rock and the sweet, sparse Not What You Know returns The Coronas to their folky roots.
‘Look At All The Lovers’, the title-providing closing track, is a beautiful slow-builder in which Danny considers couples in long-term relationships and wonders when it will be his turn. “It was inspired by my parents, our bass player and his wife, couples I know and some I’ve just seen in the street,” the singer says. “I’m happy for them but also a bit envious that they’ve got it so right, that they have no doubts they’re with the right person for life.
“Am I secretly hoping to settle down soon? Er, probably not. I look forward to when it happens, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet.”