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A review of...
The Courtneys II by The Courtneys
The Courtneys unleash some irresistible power-pop
When I first listened to this record my initial reaction was that it sounds like a lot of other bands. Mainly US and US influenced bands from the early 90s but also a whole load of more recent bands like Veronica Falls and Alvvays. What I came to appreciate with repeated listens is that any whiff of predictability or nostalgia that the band emit is more than cancelled out by the energy, likeability and uplifting melody that these songs also have in droves. The Courtneys are from Vancouver and they are made up of Courtney Loove on guitar, Sydney Koke on bass and Jen Twynn Payne on drums/lead vocals (who can resist a singing drummer??). They've just signed to New Zealand's Flying Nun Records and this is their first album for that label - their second in total after a self titled debut in 2013. The album has a raw, dense and fuzzy feel to the entire thing, it's not the minimal production that you might expect from a three-piece with a drummer that doubles up as a vocalist. There is literally NOWHERE to breathe on these songs. They are almost universally breathless and piled up with tuneful distortion and vocals that feel like rallying chants.
Tracks like "Tour" are where the band really excel. I feel like this style of music requires a certain amount of youthful verve, so that the young can really feel it and the old can reminiscently relate to it. "Tour" has that vibe, even if you've not been on tour (in a Rock n Roll way), it's easy to feel/relate to the notion of freedom you get when driving away somewhere. It's a simple song, done very very well indeed. Elsewhere the band seem to be at their most comfortable on the songs with titles that I instantly associate with films. "Lost Boys" directly references the film of the same name on a tale of a "vampire teenage boyfriend" and "Mars Attacks" is just fun, daft and slightly hammy, which is quite a fitting tribute to Tim Burton's daft film, whether intended or not. Both are played with that same party-time vigour which the band do so well. Both are the sort of songs you'll be repeatedly drawn back to if you want a bit of escapism, just like those two films are (for some).
I'd imagine The Courtneys II probably won't be winning any prizes for innovation, but if you want something that you'll actually have a good time listening to then look no further.
"Tour" - I've already gushed about how great this is. It's just a perfect slice of summertime power-pop.