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Danny and boys deserve the chorus of approval

DANNY O'Reilly is apologising for the new songs. He should probably be making excuses for not having released an album in two years, but you can see where the Coronas' tall, rugged frontman is coming from.

They do this jolly Christmas homecoming thing almost every holiday season. It's supposed to be a celebration; a fun, festive knees-up. But it also feels like a preview for 2014.

Are The Coronas any good? Sure ... sometimes. They never did sound like they were from Dublin, mind. With a name like theirs and a voice like O'Reilly's, they could almost pass for another West Coast pop-rock foursome.

But you don't come away with a shiny plaque for the most broadcast track on Irish radio in 2012 (Mark My Words) if you're not one of us. Three albums in, and it's hard to imagine another Irish band so blatantly nondescript doing the things that this lot have done (last year's Christmas bash was in the O2).

THRILLING

But if there's one thing that The Coronas have going for them, it's that they really know their way around a thrilling chorus.

They also have a hearty vocalist they can lean on – and a proficient drummer.

Actually, you know what? They're a whole lot better than some people have given them credit for. There are enough sweet hooks (Grace, Don't Wait, Listen Dear) and catchy refrains (San Diego Song, Dreaming Again) in the mix to keep us interested.

They're quite good together. Bassist Graham Knox stomps his feet throughout, and lead guitarist Dave McPhillips might have made a fine rugby player in another life (he's got the look).

They love a good rockstar pose, but it's all just a bit of fun. Granted, they do rush through some of the older material (getting tired of the hits, boys?), and there is a distinct whiff of 'college band' about them, but at least they're likable. Lucky, too. No other local rock band would get away with an Irish- language sing-song (Heroes or Ghosts), but then, no other local rock band has a singer like O'Reilly.

He and his men are exactly where they were two years ago, and this is where they'll be in another two. And there's nothing wrong with that. HHHII


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