Irish band The Coronas are back with True Love Waits, a powerful twelve-part album with a diverse array of songs, from the cheerful and wistful Lost In The Thick Of It, which features Gabrielle Alpin, to the raw LA At Night, the intense and cinematic final song and a personal favourite. The album doesn’t shy away from exploring emotion; it is curious and adventurous, it asks questions, it reflects, and it’s this depth that gives it such strength. This is an album that is destined to be played live to a crowd; songs like Heat Of The Moment and Light Me Up, which build up before exploding into colour, are just waiting to get a crowd going. And, despite our beloved music scene being temporarily halted, albums such as this one reiterate the gigs we have to be excited about when concerts make their grand return.
This year has not been plain sailing for the band. Spanning thirteen years with multiple multi-platinum selling albums, they were ready to embark on a six-month tour which has now been postponed due to a certain namesake virus. The band have had to go on standby – a frustrating wait, especially for their huge and devoted fanbase. Yet True Love Waits proves that the highly-sought band refuse to be upstaged by said virus.
What I admire about the album, aside from frontman Danny O’Reilly’s incredible vocal range, is that the songs are raw, honest, and document a journey; you don’t have to know exactly what the songs were written about to be moved by them. They express regret and confusion, but also defiance, a determination to not give up. We hear this immediately in the first song, the eponymous True Love Waits, which is a real lighters-in-the-air song: “Hold it back as much as I can/fuck that, take a chance.”
It is hardly surprising that the album is so reflective. In 2019, the four-member band became three, when guitarist Dave McPhillips announced his departure to pursue other things. Yet the band have returned with an album with a fresh, diverse and exciting sound and mood. It looks towards the future with strength and improvement – and McPhillips, who admitted on Instagram “I will always see myself as a Corona, and I know that they will too”, and “I have no doubt we will share a stage again”.
Lost In The Thick of It is a fresh, relaxed tune. Despite the lyrics seeming to discuss the difficulties of a relationship, it is nonetheless quite a lighthearted and upbeat song, another one that looks towards the future in a positive light, with lyrics such as “maybe we can meet up (sometime)” and “we’re only growing, not unfolding.” I love O’Reilly’s hushed, gentle tone of voice in this song, as it aligns perfectly with Gabrielle Alpin’s, with both voices embodying the floaty essence of the song and the line “I guess that’s when we drifted.” There isn’t a finality to this song, and I like this because it acknowledges that again, sometimes life is uncertain, and that is absolutely fine.
Brave is another song expressing uncertainty and living in the “now”. Lining this song is a strong feeling for the desire for self-improvement, with lyrics like “now that we’ve got something to lose/you know I need to improve.” Yet the lyrics seem to progress the “story” on, with “and I couldn’t wait/no I couldn’t wait/to find out” evolving at the end of the song to “and I should have stayed/yeah I should have stayed to find out.” It is clear to see that these songs are very thoughtful and carry a great amount of depth and movement to them.
Make no mistake: this album makes a perfect setlist for a festival main stage. The songs with the heaviest tone and mood, such as I Think We Jinxed It, would absolutely illuminate a crowd due to their sheer energy. I Think We Jinxed It has brilliant vocals and equally powerful instrumentals bringing the song to life. With lyrics like “cause I only wanna make things right/you didn’t have to react/I swear I didn’t mean it like that”, this song is a force to be reckoned with. And, having watched videos of previous concerts, it is clear to see that the connection between the band and the fans is an unbreakable force.
As I mentioned previously, my favourite song has got to be LA At Night. The song seems to talk about a healing, with the chorus “careful cause we’re hurting from past mistakes/but I think we’re almost certain yeah, we’re gonna be okay.” The song is very free and empowering, especially the uplifting instrumental which wraps up the song, a perfect way to conclude the album.
As a newcomer to The Coronas, I was really impressed by the album and the power of each song in its own right. This album is illuminating, powerful, and carries a lot of depth and atmosphere with it. It would seem that the title of the album True Love Waits is the perfect mantra for this year as we wait eagerly for the music industry to return. And while we remain hopeful that COVID-19 will soon be off the cards, it is clear that, with an album this vibrant, The Coronas are ready to resume their rightful place onstage.