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Another reason to be cheerful; Culture Music Simon Harper meets the next big thing from Coventry.

Byline: Simon Harper

Despite there now being a bigger media spotlight on Midlands bands than there has been in years, it's highly frustrating that a lot of the bands afforded most exposure are of questionable talent.

Luckily, Coventry quartet The Coolabahs are among the deserving local acts being tipped for success, especially in the wake of the release of their debut single. Another Reason was made available last week as a download-only single, and perfectly encapsulates their jangly harmony-led guitar pop. It's garnered comparisons with the vibrant melodicism of Love, Shack, the Beatles and Brian Wilson, while there's also a hint of the woozy psych-pop of the Elephant 6 movement, including bands such as Apples In Stereo and Of Montreal.

"It's brilliant to be compared to bands and artists as great as that. We're not kidding ourselves for a second that we're as good as them, but that's what we aspire to. Why set your sights any lower?" asks multiinstrumentalist James Bell.

With their line-up completed by Ranjit Gill, Matthew Gibbs and Jamie Crosby, The Coolabahs are also in thrall to their hometown's storied musical heritage.

"Jerry Dammers is a real hero to us. For someone from Coventry to start a band, write the songs, design the artwork, start a record label and turn it into a movement that the whole country loves is truly inspirational."

With a recent television appearance and a host of London gigs under their belts, The Coolabahs - named after an Australian cask wine - are turning their attention to promoting the single. But is their download-only release at odds with their musical outlook, due to their penchant for the kind of classic guitar pop artists usually associated with vinyl artefacts?

"I think we all prefer having a physical format because we all love album and singles artwork. But for an upcoming band like us starting out on their own, it's great that you can release a single, people can buy it, and there aren't massive overheads."

Recorded with producer John Rivers - famous for working with The Specials and The Buzzcocks - at Woodbine Studios in Leamington, their debut album is set to win over many new fans, with their depth of song-writing permeating each hook-filled nugget. Clearly, they believe it's the record they've been likely to make ever since they met, at a very tender age.

"We've been friends since we were five, and have grown up together. We were a band long before we could play instruments," grins James. "Somewhere along the line we decided to learn to play guitars and write songs.

"I suppose the ambition is for people to love our album as much as we love Talking Book, Revolver, Odelay and Catch A Fire. Then we want to record our second album and be able to explore and develop all the ideas in our heads, and not be constrained by time and money. Hopefully we'll sell enough copies of the first album to do this. Or we'd be happy taking the money off a record company."

Another Reason is available to download from iTunes. For more information on The Coolabahs visit myspace.com/thecoolabahs
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 28, 2007
Words:521
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