JAMES Skelly has fallen in love with his band all over again.

The songwriter was just 17 when he joined his brother Ian Skelly, Paul Duffy, Lee Southall, Nick Power and Warrington-born Bill Ryder-Jones in forming The Coral.

More than two decades have passed since James was that Hoylake teen and as he has grown up, his band’s music has matured and changed too.

The heavier, almost psychedelic 2016 album, Distance Inbetween, was a particular departure from the group’s jangly indie-pop days of the early noughties.

But social media has given James a newfound fondness for his earlier material – he has recently taken to Twitter to post lyrics to see if fans still connect with them.

He said: “I’m at a different point now. Now I can listen to all the songs and really appreciate them. I’ve now sort of become the biggest fan of the band.

“I used to not be able to listen back to stuff but now it’s about bringing it into the streaming and digital age. Because when those early songs originally came out that era hadn’t really arrived. We were kind of caught in between.”

Posting lyrics and links to songs or videos on Twitter even helps James create set lists for The Coral when they are on tour.

The 38-year-old added: “If I’m going to go on Twitter what am I going to add about Brexit that hasn’t already been said?

“So the only use to it I can see is to promote your music. I like to see what songs are people’s favourites and what they mean to people. It helps me pick set lists and things like that. It’s a good way to figure that out as you’re interacting directly with the fans.”

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Another thing that has put James in a nostalgic mood is The Coral’s new, ninth record – Move Through the Dawn – a strange concept album which developed as the group became conscious of how long they had been performing together.

James added: “It was sort of inspired by later Beach Boys albums. There was kind of this idea we had of what happens when bands get to their ninth album when they’ve been going for almost 20 years.

“We thought about the bands that had started in 60s and moved into the 80s and were in a totally different era.

“You get to that phase when they’re kind of rubbish and wearing Hawaiian shirts.

“You’d always buy this album thinking: ‘There’s going to be one great tune on it’.

“So the idea for Move Through the Dawn was to make that sort of album you’d discover on tape in the 80s – but it’s really good.

“Whether we achieved it I don’t know. Maybe that’s all we had left on our ninth album but that’s the loose idea of it.”

When asked what’s kept the band together since 1996 – weathering a short hiatus and slight line-up change along the way – James joked a ‘lack of options’ before admitting that friendship was at the core of it.

James said: “It’s some bizarre twisted marriage I think. We’re all good mates – can’t live with each other, can’t live without each other.”

He also said he was still close with former guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, who lived for a short time in Lymm and is now pursuing a solo career.

James added: “We’re still good mates. We want him to do well and I’m sure he wants us to. We don’t let anything get in the way of friendship.

“It’s what everything that we’ve done musically has come from anyway. When you’re good mates I think that comes across in the music.”

Meanwhile, James is also establishing himself as a producer and worked on both of Blossoms’ top five albums.

It’s gone full circle for James as it’s just like when Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie took The Coral under his wing in the producer’s chair.

James said: “There’s a lot of stuff I took from Ian and different producers I’ve worked with like Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley from Portishead and John Leckie and Craig Silvey. I’ve learnt different things from all of them and with some songs I do go right back to what Ian taught me.”

The Coral play at Parr Hall on March 16. Visit pyramidparrhall.com