Coral’s mad for it

The Coral with Supergrass at the Guvernment (132 Queen’s Quay East), Sunday (March 9). $22.50. 416-870-8000.

Rating: NNNNN

Boy, those brits sure can crank out the young rock stars. And not the crappy-rehash, dime-a-dozen kind either, but the interesting, innovative ones that make your brain hurt when you try to wrap your head around the fact that people who are still probably getting used to their pubic hair can make such music. The Music are one such band. The Coral are another.Barely out of high school, the Coral have the British press drooling and are now ready to impress North America with their self-titled record, a concoction of parts rock, prog, ska, pop, psychedelia, soul and a whole bunch of other stuff: Captain Beefheart, Lee Perry, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, the Beach Boys. There’s a lot packed in here.

Sometimes too much, but that’s better than not enough.

They started out playing Oasis covers in high school in the teeny town of Hoylake. “And loads of Beatles songs as well,” says Lee Southall, guitarist and vocalist. He’s talking to me from the set of Late Night With Conan O’Brien as they await their American television debut.

“I’m looking forward to it, but I’m a bit nervous.”

I bet. It must feel strange to go from a place where everyone adores you to somewhere where nobody knows you from Kylie Minogue.

“Yeah, it does,” he agrees. “But when we started out we felt like we had to prove ourselves. Now we just have to prove ourselves again.”

Well, that didn’t take too long in the UK. It was pretty much an overnight thing, and, truth be told, the world right now is way more interested in them than it is in Supergrass, with whom they share the bill Sunday at the Guvernment and who were once rather hyped themselves. Must be freaky.

“At first it was quite a shock,” says Southall.

“We just got put out there, did the New Music Express tour and the next day we were massive.”

Their hometown of Hoylake, however, a place where the yearly highlight is something called Lifeboat Day, seems immune to the hype.

“I don’t think anyone there really knows about it. I’m not sure. Everybody keeps to themselves. I kind of had to cut myself off from the people I went to high school with. They were into different things, like hanging out on street corners.”

While the other kids were busy occupying corners, Southall and crew were rooting around Liverpool record stores for interesting things to listen to, which is what led to their eclectic sound.

“It was a hunger for music. And my parents listened to a lot of Motown, so I love, like, Scott Walker and Smokey Robinson.”

Perhaps small-town ennui is the secret behind the bright young rock star, lack of stimulation leading to a search for something bigger and better.

“Well,” says Southall, “it’s just kids looking for something to do, isn’t it?”

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