New releases from The Coral, Deep Sea Diver, and Violent Femmes 

Sound Advice

click to enlarge The Coral
  • The Coral

The Coral

Distance Inbetween

Ignition Records

File next to: Echo & The Bunnymen, The Doors, The Cult

Standing astride two rock subgenres — Britpop and a sort of Paisley Underground revival — The Coral have been releasing quality albums since their self-titled debut in 2002. They’ve also been relatively consistent hitmakers in the U.K., with all but one of their albums top-tenning. But aside from some lower-rung chart action for their debut, they’ve never caught on with a significant American audience. And that’s unfortunate, because the group’s sound — as showcased on their latest, Distance Inbetween — rocks convincingly, with a moody, hypnotic vibe, and with solid hooks throughout. The vaguely exotic “Connector” recalls Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” wedded to a catchier (and more danceable) melody. It’s a bit late for The Coral to become the next big thing among guitar-based rock groups, but it’s never too late to discover their fine music. — Bill Kopp

click to enlarge Deep Sea Diver
  • Deep Sea Diver

Deep Sea Diver


High Beam

File next to: Wye Oak, Hey Marseilles, The Rosebuds

Jessica Dobson sports a rich resumé as both studio and touring guitarist for such acts as Beck, The Shins and Spoon. Her own band, Deep Sea Diver, has struggled to find a unique voice through the course of two EPs and a 2012 debut album History Speaks. But Dobson and her bandmates are finally hitting their stride with Secrets, an album that takes more chances in song style and arrangements than any of its predecessors. For a virtuoso with a fondness for heavy guitar licks, it’s surprising to see her steer more toward pop than rock on songs like “See These Eyes” and the title track. And with vocals suggestive of a young Lucinda Williams wedded to falsetto yelps, heavy Mellotron and even the occasional disco rhythm, Secrets finds Deep Sea Diver successfully avoiding the predictable. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge Violent Femmes
  • Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes

We Can Do Anything

Add It Up

File next to: Camper Van Beethoven, Ween, Cake

For every Violent Femmes fan who is glad that this reunion album is a minimalist affair, there’s a skeptic who’s upset that Gordon Gano and company have taken to writing fluffy, inconsequential lyrics and songs with vaguely bluegrass overtones. Still, it’s easy to forget that the Milwaukee group has always dwelled in a space somewhere between They Might Be Giants and Half Japanese, with absurd observations on hipster life finding their way to the forefront. Gano’s voice has matured over 30 years to give it an Arlo Guthrie aw-shucks quality, while the topics run from dragon slayers in the song “I Could Be Anything” to a predictable ode to 21st-century neuroses in “Issues.” Subtle satire is clearly not the strong suit on an album whose title is, perhaps intentionally, an overstatement. — Loring Wirbel


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