Thecoronas press 300

Coronas’ 5th CD is summer No. 1

The Coronas, who improve a few of their songs by translating them for Irish-language compilation albums, will tour Canada and the U.S. in the fall.

By Colleen Taylor

In the States, “Corona” has one connotation: beer on the beach. But in Dublin, “Corona” means something far more meaningful: pride in homegrown music. Since 2007, the four-piece rock band the Coronas have made their hometown Dublin proud with an impressive musical career, writing new, energetic rock songs that follow in the footsteps of a band like U2. Ten years later, the Coronas have released their most successful studio album yet, as well as sold out their biggest, most impressive gig, held right at home in Kilmainham, Dublin. “Trust the Wire” is the latest from the Coronas and it exudes the confidence of a band that knows they’ve latched on to steadfast success.

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The Coronas, AKA Danny O’Reilly (son of Mary Black), Graham Knox, Conor Egan, and Dave McPhillips, made a career for themselves with the release of their debut album, “Heroes or Ghosts.” The release brought the Coronas attention from music critics and a widespread national fan group, as well as a number of Meteor Award nominations. The band then followed “Heroes or Ghosts” with an impressive productivity: a new album each couple of years, “Tony Was an Ex-Con” (2009) and “Closer to You” (2011), and “The Long Way” (2014). With the exception of “Trust the Wire” released in Ireland in June, their best album since 2007 is undoubtedly “The Long Way.” In that album, the Coronas show they aren’t afraid to harmonize, even beautify, their vocals, while maintaining that standard rock foundation. This album made the band’s sound more variable, less strictly rock and indie-rock instead. “All the Others” is a particularly good example of the range: it combines a peppy rock chorus, quiet verses, and most importantly, an easy blend of high range vocals and aggressive bass. Three years later, “Trust the Wire” continues this more impressive range.

The Coronas’ recent album release does not taper off into a newly original and innovative direction for the band. Rather, this fifth studio album solidifies the steady, successful musical marathon this national supergroup been running over the last decade. Conceived in an isolated house in Dingle, “Trust the Wire” showcases the indie-rock style of the four-man group and highlights that quiet, desolate West of Ireland setting with its introspective lyrics. The vocals are particularly stunning in their single “We Couldn’t Fake It,” which ranges from high, distinctive pitches to strong rhythms. Another favorite single is “Real Feel,” which is atypically exploratory for the Coronas. The song is ‘90s pop as well as traditional rock, but includes some street instruments, adding color to the album.

Unsurprisingly, “Trust the Wire” has proven to be pleasing to loyal fans. The album reached number 1 in Ireland this summer, outflanking even Ed Sheeran himself. The success of this album is arguably the most important to date because it marks the first time the Coronas have released an album on their own independent label. But the peak of the popular response was the band’s show at the park at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. A massive crowd of 15,000 flocked to see the group perform live. You can see the huge numbers for yourself in stunning videos of the night’s experience, available on Facebook. As the sun set over the city, audience members sang along with each lyric, celebrating the communal feel of Dublin rock music.

One fun fact I like about the Coronas is that they have also made a foray into Irish-language music, which is something you don’t often see from a popular indie rock band. They recorded versions of several of their songs, as Gaeilge, for Irish-language compilation albums. The best of these is probably “Éist a Ghrá,” or “Listen Dear,” a peppy song that becomes more interesting in the Irish translation. It was released as a bonus track on their sophomore album as well. The Irish version of the title track off their first album is another arguably improved rendition of the English original.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think the Coronas are breaking radical ground for Irish music—not yet anyway. Still, they are an objectively good rock band writing new original music for an Irish fan base. At the end of the day, this is simply a talented Irish group that sounds current, modern, and international. That international reputation was confirmed when the band members announced their upcoming North American tour. To promote the American release of “Trust the Wire,” which will soon be available on Sept. 1, the band will travel around Canada and the U.S. Two gigs in Toronto are already sold out, and I have no doubt the band is hoping for the same when they hit New York. After headlining in Boston, they will play at Rough Trade in New York on Nov. 10. Start memorizing the lyrics now, so you can join the Dublin crowds in singing along to an energetic Coronas rock concert.