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The Courteeners – ANNA album review

The last time I heard anything fresh-ish from The Courteeners, I was deplorably temping in Next*, the summer before I was due to embark on my second year at university.
There was this CD that would play over the tannoy we had to endure daily, most probably knocked up by somebody’s son (‘who’s really into his music’) from head office.

I can recall a great Zombies track – Time of the Season’s, that tired, god awful La Roux (aka Tilda Swinton – honestly, IMDb that shit now) slime, and then there was Overdid It Doll from The Courteeners previous album, Falcon.

Some fashion obsessed, airheaded blonde piece I worked alongside would tell me that the chorus line was “you sold the tank top” (try it, it almost fits) and she would chime in every time, without fail, with the wrong lyrics.

Anyway, having patiently waited the best part of two and half years for some more, I was quite looking forward to hearing what they’d been working on. Good news – ANNA’s not bad.

We’ve got a good balance. There’s a few you could listen to whilst you’re being betrayed by natural light on the unspeakable hangover days (‘Marquee’), and depending on the severity of said hangover, ‘You Want Something You Can’t Have’ could also slot into that playlist. They’re both melodious, tentative, bumph really – nothing to write home about.

The headliner is ‘Lose Control’. This is the kind of thing you should expect to see in the Premiership’s best goals montage. These cats could be the future footy fan’s new go-to guys.
Gallagher used to play upfront but he regrettably got too old and fell apart. Then there was the lank hair of Serge bobbing around in the box for a bit. Maybe now it’s time for the fresh legs of Mr Fray to appreciate the stadium lights with the first team. Just maybe.

In ‘Push Yourself’, which is also a stomper, I came to the sudden realisation, with the heavily accented line, “you stand back, fuck me!” that the editor seems to give me a lot of Mancunian bands to review – coincidence? I think not.
It’s a pretty driving track – the kick and the bass are locked together in a way that you would hope the backbone of any third album band would be, and Fray clangs along, as he does, with his trademark ooh’s and ahh’s. The lead guitar compliments the whole arrangement well, just bending into dissonance in the chorus’ like Bloc Party used to do.

All in all, ANNA’s not bad. She’s a definite keeper and a sterling example of what a band can achieve. But after five years I was hoping for an absolute stellar release I could put on the wall. That space remains reserved.

*Other highstreet fashion stockists are available

Find the published article at IAreYeti

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Everything Everything – Arc album review

It’s been long speculated, much anticipated, well received so of course it’s rad. ‘Arc’ is the new release to be beamed down from the Everything Everything brain ship.

20130202-123927.jpgThe Mancunian quartet are as tight as ever. Higgs’ unmistakable falsettos are flawless and matched seemingly effortlessly by the band’s tinkering. That’s the best way I can describe their doings: ‘tinkering’. Is that even onomatopoeic, who knows? Answers on a postcard.

I think what makes this band the musical engineers of today is the layers of their sound. In most modern day outfits the percussion often takes a backseat, but it’s often drowned in resentment. EE sound like they’ve got a solidified agreement. An appreciative forethought imbedded deep within the team of what the final product is going to sound like, then they just go out and execute.

Obviously the headline is ‘Kemosabe’ – that sucker was stuck in my head for a week. It opens with the usual weird, non-descript bollocks that EE apparently live for but it’s what it evolves into that I really need to get across. It’s all about the fat power chords that beautifully stab into the verse and the shouts and interjections from Higgs’ backup. It’s been built in pretty much the same way Schoolin’ was, by which I mean you can sing along without really knowing the words. Just make whiney, high-pitched, melodious noises and you’re well on your way to the likes of Kemosabe.
The difference between this lot and your typical high pitched whine is that they execute with a finely crafted Wilkinsword and I’m assuming their studio operator is half studio-terminator.
To paraphrase Buzz Lightyear: this isn’t singing – it’s whinging, with style.

When I first heard ‘Feet For Hands’ I thought I was listening to that emotionally detached Radiohead number from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet screenplay. I wasn’t disappointed for long however, it ticks all of the boxes and works well as a mortar tying the album’s loose ends together.

As an overall, it’s powerful and soothing all in one neatly wrapped boxset. It’s a sodden road Everything Everything have been treading for a while but it’s their empathetic, cruel and melancholic approach to music that I find engaging. It hosts the beauty of The XX’s composites and simultaneously the drive of more powerful groups like Vampire Weekend and Boy Crisis. They’re flirting with the parameters of studio-electronic, modern hipster-wave and it’s working brilliantly.

These lads are going to be touring this album this summer, make sure you’re there.

Find the published piece at I Are Yeti

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