It was looking all rather promising and platonic there, until the last sentence where it all got a bit personal. Although, I'm sure Liam Fray, lead singer, wasn't claiming that everyone revolves around him. He's not that arrogant, is he?
Two years on from their debut, 'St. Jude', The Courteeners are back, and just in time. With the demise of Oasis (RIP), it is clear that the British music scene needs a band to fill that hole. Now, that is the last time i will refer to Oasis within the same breath as The Courteeners. Because, despite several reviewers claiming an immediate connection between the two bands, i believe there to be little more connection than the fact they are from Manchester, the lead singer's mother decided to call her son 'Liam', and sunsequently decided to bring him up to be a confident little so-and-so. And it would be lovely to hear about The Courteeners without hearing about Oasis and Morrissey, wouldn't it? No, that wouldn't be possible.
A hefty amount of money was poured into this, Fray determined to keep pushing boundaries, to keep his band going, and to not die a tepid 'second-album' death (Kooks who?). This is definitely seen, as a full and rather majestic sounding album is the result, providing a solid enjoyment throughout.
Solid is definitely a key word here. This album does not push boundaries. While it might apply pressure to them, they pretty much remain in the same position we found them in before. This album is.. good. It is enjoyable. Much like a second album, it is nothing new (running theme Vampire Weekend anyone?).
Fray's continuing wit is on display and his famous 'couplets' are thrown in and around to good effect: "All I can do is flip the Mac and gently touch the screen". He sings about how he'll be "minding your drink as you go to the RBS cash machine" and how he hasn't "felt this alone since his art GCSE". He still provides a very personal outlook within his songs, directing a lyrical story, with full effect.
Sometimes this album, and Fray's lyrics in general, can get quite boring and irritating, because, as he is usually describing his life in and around Manchester, he has a tendency to spell events out and 'story-tell'. And while he is being hailed as the new 'Morrissey', this technique provides very little room for imagination, and, as listeners, we don't want everything to be spelt out for us. We want to speculate, we want to argue, and we'd quite like The Courteeners to be a bit more adventurous thank you very much.
Songs that stand out are: audacious, sometimes in danger of being too grand, 'The Opener', singlong 'Sycophant', mid-tempo 'Cameo Brooch' and, again quoting simple young Manchester life, 'Will It Be This Way Forever?'
A good solid second album, securing their indefinite future in the iTunes libraries of teenagers throughout Britain, not just Manchester, where locals are almost definitely fed up of Fray running around, scribing events, with an old notebook, for future songs! The third album will decide if they can push themselves up into the upper reaches of 'Post-Oasis' musical Britain.
See, told you it wasn't possible to not quote them.
1. The Opener
2. Cameo Brooch
4. You Overdid It Doll