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Coast: The Turning Stone

"Coast is an English folk rock group, based in Southampton, UK, which was formed in the winter of 2007 by singer-songwriter Paul Eastham. Classically trained pianist Eastham had previously co-written and co-produced the first EP by Welsh singer Duffy, the eponymously titled Aimée Duffy (EP) which was released in 2004 under the Welsh Awen Records label. Eastham also played keyboards, synths and guitar on the EP" (, 2011).

The band released an EP, The Great Crowd in 2008, which I found on iTunes looking for the other band named The Coast from New Zealand, (they're good too). I really enjoyed The Great Crowd, and hope to review that EP in the future. When I first read that their new one The Turning Stone was coming out in May, I knew that would be the first I'd review.

Coast is made up of Paul Eastham, on lead vocals, keyboards and guitars; Mark Mongan, on drums; Chris Barnes, on percussion; Hammish Ferguson, on bass; and Steve Picken, on electric and acoustic guitars. Guest performers include Duncan Chisholm, Iain Bayne, and Arnie Cottrell. Emily Keohan provides backing vocals.

This is one of my favorite albums of the year. It brings back the sound I remember from some of Simple Minds best tracks and at the same time reminds me of some of Big Country's later songs. But this is original music with its own lyrical content and folk sound. This is the band's first full length album, but their EP is just as good. They serve as a great introduction to this band that cuts across genres and performs excellent original music.

'The Caller' will bring back memories of Big Country. I like to compare Coast's sound to Big Country's power mixed with Simple Minds style and class. Paul Eastham's vocals fall somewhere between Stuart Adamson's and Jim Kerr's almost perfectly. He can cover slow dramatic songs like Kerr and also reach high octane and bring back the sound of thunder from Big Country. The cool opening riff on this track is a catchy start to this project and will have your foot tapping early. That cool folk percussion and fiddle will transport your thoughts across the Atlantic. The mandolin, guitars, and drums are an excellent presence to launch this great album.

'A Road Outta This Town' opens quietly with piano, before a bouncy melody enters full of keys, fiddle, guitars, drums, and bass. Eastham's vocals bring back the spirit of Big Country well, as the band delivers the perfect supporting soundtrack to the lyrics. The story sounds a little like a Bruce Springsteen, 'Born to Run' story set to folk beats and instruments. This song has a wide open country feeling to it. This song captures the feeling that you're about to make some huge change in life and you are entering the great wide open space of the world.

The title track, 'The Turning Stone' is one of the big highlights on an album full of them. Although all the tracks are original, you can't help but feel the presence of some Simple Minds influences on this one. That blasting lead guitar could have gone on any number of SM albums. The drums, the supporting bass, and Gordon Lightfoot – like vocals are fantastic and make this a great title track. The harmonizing vocals add such depth and take the refrains higher each time. The whistles keep reminding you of the band's origins.

'Fields of Blood' is the first song where we hear those Jim Kerr – like vocals. The track opens like it could have been on any of Simple Minds albums of the 1990s. Eastham's vocal delivery of the original lyrics brings back memories of what Simple Minds music used to sound like. The keys and piano mix well with the lead guitar, bass, and drums to provide an excellent soundscape. Definitely one of the highlights on this album.

'The Ghost of Dan the Boy' brings back more of that Simple Minds sound set to perfect piano. This is one of the deepest emotional and lyrically driven songs on the album. A quiet story about a tragedy that opens with Eastham singing alone, accompanied by keyboard, and later opens up with violins, bass, guitar and drums.

More wonderful piano and Eastham singing 'The Beat of You', with the violin and whistle joining in later to make this another one of the best tracks on the album. "Over that river is where I want to be. Over that river I hear the beat of you".

'The Docks of My Hometown' is another wonderful vocal song with excellent musical support from lead guitar, drums, bass, and keys. The guitar solos are excellent and the violin, keys, female echoing vocals and drums add excellent effects to the soundscape.

A beautiful violin and piano open 'Victory O' with incredible emotion. Then Eastham sings, "lead me to the promised land with hot blood running through thy hand". The song and this album are full of emotional lyrics and powerful themes and this song is a great example.

'Valley High, Valley Low' opens with cool keys and synth effects before the whistles scream through into what you might envision as the bright early rays of sun on meadows in a valley. The sound truly captures the power and beauty of 'this pleasant land'.

Track Listing
1) The Caller
2) A Road Outa This Town
3) The Turning Stone
4) Fields of Blood
5) The Ghost of Dan the Boy
6) The Beat of You
7) The Docks of My Hometown
8) Victory-O
9) Valley High, Valley Low

Added: July 1st 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3059
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Coast: The Turning Stone
Posted by Erling Mortensen on 2011-07-18 10:07:20
My Score:

Just to inform you, that "The Turning Stone" isn't their first full lenght CD. In 2009 the CD just called "Coast" was issued - and that is great also :)

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