Six albums deep, do Courteeners still have it?
Released: Ignition Records
Courteeners graced us with their 6th studio album in January this year. Written by frontman Liam Fray and made up of 10 tracks, their latest release features an interesting range of songs extending from their usual upbeat indie anthems to some more experimental tracks influenced by psychedelia and even some retro glam.
Fray wastes no time and jumps right in at the deep end with ‘Heart Attack’, a fast-paced, catchy chorused start to the album. The tune is jumpy and electrifying with deep filling riffs, and an electro-glam feel which is bold and refreshing to see; however, the lyrics feel slightly clumsy and are not the best reflection of the extent of Frays poetic skill.
‘Heavy Jacket’ is the next track and has proved to be a new fan favourite based on the crowd’s reaction when it is played live. Despite the endless repetition of ‘heavy jacket’ Fray does use some clever lyrics including some pop culture references about Caroline Aherne and Vincent Van Gogh. “Wake up one day with Van Gogh’s hands but nothing between the ear.” Is a standout lyric because it showcases Fray’s intellect and his fondness for art history references as he also mentions Francis Bacon in ‘Previous Parties’.
The title track ‘More. Again. Forever.’ is perhaps the biggest surprise of the album. The song features bouncy bass riffs and a catchy dance beat that is topped off nicely by Liam’s spoken narrative, and it grows on you the more you listen to it.
Next the album takes a slower pace with ‘Better Man’ which Fray wrote about his journey towards bettering himself. An honest, harmonic psychedelic pop tune on self-improvement that features some violin and glorious guitar riffs and is sure to please fans.
‘Hanging Off Your Cloud’ is my personal favourite off the album because of its beautiful use of violin and repeated piano notes. It is a melodic and tender ballad that is haunting to hear live.
With catchy, disco tune ‘Previous Parties’ the album resumes its more upbeat and pulsey tone. It has a robotic feel and has a chorus that will go off live. ‘The Joy Of missing out’ is another classic guitar heavy Courteeners sounding one with a lively drumbeat and distorted riffs.
‘One Day At A Time’ is another favourite off the album and one that really resonated with me. Here Fray starts off slow then builds the song beautifully with some heartbreakingly real lyrics.
“take it slow one day at a time”
“it’s only you that’s making you cry”
‘Take It On The Chin’ another classic Courteeners sounding tune offering an opposite perspective on mental health. Fray meaningfully sings about his experience “sliding down the therapists chair” and offers some insight into his childhood and religious upbringing.
Closing the album is ‘Is Heaven Even Worth It?’. Philosophical, earnest and reflective; Fray speaks here with the bare emotion and maturity of an accomplished musician, making for a nice ending to the album.
In all ‘More. Again. Forever.’ is a risk that has paid off. Fray has a confident and honest tone that is carried throughout, complimented by his smart and insightful lyrics. What I like about this album is that it is a clear reflection of Fray’s mindset upon writing it, he has done well to blend the bands classic sound with some bold experimental stuff too.
Words by Emma Edwards