JAMES Skelly admits that The Coral have never been a band to conform.

Formed by a bunch of schoolfriends on the Wirral, the band were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for their self-titled debut album in 2002, and remain best known for the singles In the Morning and Dreaming of You.

Over the years they have released a series of albums ranging from the psychedelic to the morose and they have just put out Move Through the Dawn, which has surprised critics and fans alike with its catchy melodies and Sixties influences.

“I think some people wish we could stick to one thing but we just don’t find it that interesting,” said James. “With this album, we knew what we wanted it to be and picked certain types of songs that all fit together.

“My thing is that there are loads of ways to be good, you have just got to make sure it is good for what it is.

“If you wanted to, you could do a disco record but then you could either do a really good one or a really bad one. There is merit to every type of music really, it’s just how you do it.”

For Move Through the Dawn, James was determined that melodies would come to the fore.

“If the lyrics didn’t sound good with the melody then the lyrics got changed,” he said. “It was all about allowing the melody to say as much as possible. Sometimes I think there’s a tendency for the melodies to get lost.”

James has always had an ear for a catchy hook so it comes as a surprise to hear him admit, 'I had to relearn how to write a melody’.

“I’d not done a song that way in a while so I had to absorb myself in my playlists for a while, but after that it came pretty naturally to me,” he said. “You just have to write them as though you are a kid and then add the lyrics of thing you know as an adult.”

One of the most pleasant surprises of the new album is how much fun it is.

“There is no reason music can’t be fun but I think that often gets forgotten,” said James. “It’s almost like fun has become a dirty word in music.

“With the new songs, there is a layer underneath if you want to go there but if you don’t then it’s just there to be enjoyed.

“We can go back to being miserable on the next album but wanted this one to be uplifting.”

Songs from Move Through the Dawn will feature in the set for the band’s forthcoming show at Manchester’s Albert Hall.

“That’s one of my favourites,” said James. “It’s a class venue.”

James is a passionate advocate for live music.

“You can’t download a live experience,” he said.

“It’s still sacred in a way. As the artist, you are still in charge and it’s happening in front of you. It’s real and it’s human and think it’s still the best way to experience music.”

The Coral, Albert Hall, Manchester, Saturday, October 13