So The Courteeners are back with their third studio album Anna. In that case let’s prepare ourselves for a competent, though unadventurous, indie album comprising of catchy riffs and overly rhyming lyrics that anyone more than thirty miles from Manchester City Centre will struggle to comprehend or relate to… Hold on… This one is different you say? I’m intrigued.
Following Liam Fray’s well documented image refining, the band’s music seems to have moved in the same direction. In Anna the band have managed to evolve their sound while still retaining that roguish charm that made them so popular with existing fans. For those of you expecting the pop rock repetition of St Jude or the overbearing melancholy of Falcon you will be surprised to see this compromise of the two styles. The opening track ‘Are You in Love with a Notion’ blends the band’s characteristic sound with a musical sophistication that has been sorely lacking in their early albums. The first release ‘Lose Control’ has a similar feel to ‘You Overdid it Doll’ but with much more lyrical ambiguity that allows the listener to explore a different dimension to the band’s music. The Courteeners have always been viewed as a band that cling to their Mancunian routes perhaps a little bit too much and in ‘When You Want Something You Can’t Have’ you can see an instant reference to The Smiths. However, this album is not exclusively Mancunian, it encompasses a much broader range of topics and musical experimentation. Live performances of the new material have been extremely well received and as the album becomes more recognisable I can only see the tracks on Anna matching (or even replacing) their fan favourite tracks as the tour continues.
This is an innovative and exciting album from a band that eighteen months ago I thought were heading into a musical cul-de-sac. I look forward to seeing where this new direction takes the band and would recommend that Anna be your next purchase, if you haven’t already got it, that is!