The Coral @ O2 ABC, Glasgow, 5 March

Live Review by Chris McCall | 09 Mar 2016

The Coral were so prolific in the 2000s that no one could begrudge them a break when they announced their hiatus. The Hoylake group released six albums and 17 singles in barely a decade, a level of productivity more associated with the most fearless Motown acts of the 1960s. This is their first Glasgow show in five years, and a capacity crowd is clearly delighted to have them back.

For a group best-known for writing playful pop hits with subtle psych twists, The Coral have become a surprisingly heavy live act. This new direction works well for the most part, but the riffing next single (Holy Revelation) sounds rather awkward when following the sunshine melodies of 2005 hit In the Morning. While new material like Connector is greeted politely, the biggest cheers are reserved for the likes of Don't Think You're the First, a rolling 21st century R&B number that couldn't have been written by anyone else.

Those observing James Skelly's men for the first time tonight may wonder why their commercial success far exceeds the likes of The La's and Shack – two cult Merseyside groups they owe a considerable debt to. They remain defiantly low-key on stage and in interviews. When bassist Paul Duffy proclaims this show to be the best of the tour, it's a surprising display of intimacy for a band who usually offer nothing more than 'thanks' at the end of each song. But when they can end a varied performance with a song as universally loved as Dreaming of You, there's not a lot more they need say. [Chris McCall]