James Skelly & The Intenders

Album Title: 
Love Undercover
Release Date: 
Monday, June 3, 2013
Review Type: 

Whenever the front(wo)man of a well-known musical act goes about making a solo album, the outcome either resembles what that musician does with his/her main band, or (just as frequently) is an acoustic version of it... Not so with James Skelly of The Coral whom, with Love Undercover, comes along with a Soul and Rhythm 'n' Blues influenced album!

The album came about during the hiatus The Coral took during 2012, after that band had halted halfway the recordings of its 6th album and going into an indefinite hiatus, allowing the separate members to go into solo endeavours. As to the reasons for the hiatus with half an album finished, Skelly was reported to state (to the Liverpool Daily Post) : “The stuff we'd recorded was great, but it was just natural... We'd been together since we were 16, younger even, and you get to the point where you're trapped in this version of what you think you should be.”! No wonder then, that James grabbed back to his musical heritage for a solo album...which is after all not quite an album, as indicated by the suffix “& The Intenders”.

In Skelly's mind, it had to be a Bruce Spingsteen & The E-Street Band, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers kinda thing, where he had all the songs, but things became a proper group thing with everybody participating to get to the intended result. In order to get that result, Skelly resorted to recruited befriended musicians, in the form of his own band's Ian Skully (drums, but also co-producer along James), Paul Duffy (guitar) and Nick Power (piano), former Tramp Attack 's James Redmond (bass) and The Sundowners' Niamh Rowe and Fiona Skelly (on backing vocals) alongside Alfie Skelly (on additional guitar).

Of course, James' own vocal signature is somewhat removed from those of either Springsteen and Petty, but that actually gives the whole project a more valid reason for existence, as no copy-catting was intended...which is something you'll be able to understand swiftly enough after having looked at the videos posted at (www.) jameskellyandtheintenders.com (an official music clip for the track “You've Got I All” - a song for which Paul Weller had written the music – an acoustic rehearsal of the track “Love Undercover”, and a fake video featuring the song “Do It Again”), or listened to the 30-second samples made available at the album's iTunes page. More trivia about the songs : “What A Day” was originally written by James & Ian 15 years ago; “Searching For The Sun” was originally intended for a The Coral album, but never finished.