Magic & Medicine - The Coral

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Suggests even more urgently that that landmark album that's so patently within their grasp is tantalisingly close. This, however, is not it. Not quite. It is still, nevertheless, a quite dazzling album.
  2. The Coral have refined their influences, dropping some of the more incongruous blasts and revelations for a more concise, controlled dervish of Northern guitar colour and shade, West Coast psychedelic fever and Spaghetti Western landscapes and atmospherics.
  3. On Magic & Medicine, the band's frenetic freakout leanings have been stripped away in favor of a more humble approach, placing subtlety and songwriting above the sounds being produced. It all sounds far less interesting.
  4. Pretty though much of Magic and Medicine is, it's an ultimately frustrating piece of work.
  5. Magic & Medicine would be a modest success if it weren't for a handful of songs that nearly ruin things.
  6. This time around, a more restrained approach means a less exhausting listening experience. [#5, p.99]
  7. 90
    A darker and dramatically more cohesive collection than its predecessor. [Sep 2003, p.108]
  8. All of the elements that make the band great--the Shadowsy guitar solos, James Skelly's Eric Burdon-meets-Jimmy Corkhill croon, the breadth of imagination--are well lubricated, but the songwriting has rocketed. [Aug 2003, p.106]
  9. 70
    This isn't a great departure from The Coral but mainman James Skelly's increasingly witty words and ear for a killer jig put this in a loveable place of its own. [Aug 2003, p.95]
  10. 70
    More mature, more focused, and a little less fun. [Mar 2004, p.115]
  11. Magic & Medicine is hardly a record that will catapult The Coral to the next level; but at the same time, it's also far from being an embarrassment.
  12. A subtler pleasure. [30 Oct 2003, p.92]
  13. Medicine is certainly a cohesive and mature outing, but it isn't nearly as fun as the band's previous shenanigans. [May 2004, p.102]
  14. Magic and Medicine reveals a tightness of strong structure and definition of purpose (still all things '60s, but more folkie than psychedelic) lacking on the group's debut.
  15. Though lacking the [debut'] exhilarating peaks, Magic is more consistent. [13 Feb 2004, p.71]
  16. Though it's fair to question their sense of tradition, they succeed where other blues-aping artists, like Gomez and Arnold, have failed, because they're not wholly indebted to the customs of the blues. They've merely co-opted its grisly spirit and transformed it into something unique.
  17. Magic And Medicine's draggy Bob Dylan homage "Talkin' Gypsy Market Blues" shows the limitation of using old rock as window dressing, while the bulk of the disc presents a better-integrated fusion of varied hypnotic pop sounds.
  18. The expansive palette of the debut has been shorn of its tumult and restlessness.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. NorthFreedomFighter
    Apr 6, 2005
    Beautifully crafted and innovative, a definite must have for anyone with any interest in Brit Rock and psychedelica.
  2. RobertA
    Apr 3, 2004
    This album is lively but a little less fun then their debut.
  3. NseE
    Mar 28, 2004
    ?Magic & Medicine? comprises melodic tunes, and begins with the Beatles-ish ?In the forest?, a short, delightful strumming number, followed ?Magic & Medicine? comprises melodic tunes, and begins with the Beatles-ish ?In the forest?, a short, delightful strumming number, followed by the catchy ?Don?t think you?re the first?. ?Bill McCai? is a bouncy sing-along tune with a sharp twist to the tale. ?Eskimo lament? is a tender ballad with great vocal harmonizing and a superb horn break. Other standouts are ?Secret kiss? and ?Confessions of A.D.D.D? with a great instrumental finale. ?All of our love? would not sound out of place on a Radiohead cd. The bonus cd 'Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker' sounds like it was recorded by an entirely different group. The sound is darker, more experimental, Radiohead-ish (?Song of the corn?, ?Sorrow or the song?, ?Keep me company?) and Super Furry Animal-ish (?Precious eyes?). The standout on this disc is the superb, upbeat ?Grey Harpoon? with its X-Files/Twilight Zone-like sound effects. A splendid slice of Brit pop. Full Review »