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Catchy pop has fans hooked

"We're called The Coronas," announces Danny O'Reilly. As if we didn't already know. As if, by chance, the band's perfume-scented legion of dolled-up female followers and their messy-haired boyfriends weren't already accustomed with the ruggedly handsome Dublin quartet. But it's far too easy to diss The Coronas, not to mention their typically posh following.

They're nice guys. With nice, catchy songs. And nice guys with nice, catchy songs tend to bug the hell out of critics. Indeed, the band that once claimed to have spent a summer in San Diego, sleeping all day and drinking all night, before returning home to write a song about it, might never convert the haters, but who the hell cares? Certainly not O'Reilly. And rightly so.

Three albums in, and it's becoming increasingly clear that The Coronas were never really interested in reinventing the wheel. If the strongest aspect of this band is O'Reilly's remarkably robust vocal, then a close runner-up is their seemingly effortless knack for a great chorus.

It's simple, hook-laden pop rock. There's little arguing with the Terenure outfit's suitably tight musicianship and staunch, near-perfect presentation.


O'Reilly is the heartthrob -- an old-school crowd-pleaser who only has to smile and the ladies down the front lose their minds. Grace, Don't Wait awakens the lads' inner rock stars, while an Irish language version of Heroes or Ghosts (though naff from beginning to end) works its reliable magic (phones out, hands in the air -- that sort of thing). What's more, the new material goes down very well indeed.

There are no surprises. On record, The Coronas play things fairly straight, so it's only natural that their live show follows suit; the only real downside arriving in the form of a messy rendition of the late Mic Christopher's Heyday.

Oh, and O'Reilly should really stay behind his instrument instead of climbing speakers and running around with a microphone.

It's not the greatest gig you'll ever see, but it more than does the job. Chances are, this might be the best that The Coronas are capable of.

Then again, this might just be the beginning of something bigger. Either way, their overexcited fans are certainly in it for the long haul. HHHII