9 March 2014

The Courteeners - St. Jude

Before I get stuck into the big pile of pre-picked blog I have waiting, I have been asked recently to have a look at the debut album of The Courteeners.  Now at most point I would have probably let it wait until I had got through a few more albums from this year (there is some corkers to come in the next few days), but something told me to go for this one sooner.  It is not because I am a massive Courteeners fan, to be honest I haven't given them much time at all; it is not because I am in much of an indie mood, at the minute I am on such a Boris trip it is like flood of Japanese noise in my mind; it is more than likely because I like a sort of challenge and the person who asked me to do this is a good laugh.  But onto the album and the band, The Courteeners were formed in 2006 and come from Middleton in Greater Manchester.  This album was released two years after they had got together and they seemed to be on a big wave at the time, I do remember seeing that cover on many billboards around the UK at the time and the album itself did spawn five singles which had various degrees of success and Morrissey is also one of their biggest fans.  To say that they have the indie world at their feet is sort of a given, but just because you have the likes of the NME and other publications of that ilk throwing flowers at your feet does not mean your any good.  So with that being said, what is the score with this album?

Starting with "Aftershow" it has that classic haunted guitar tone which has started quite a lot of songs over the year.  This is a story of the song is that of the walk home after a party (or barbeque) and walking home with someone who is clearly in the wrong relationship.  It is moody and bouncy at the same time; it is catchy but nothing that is blowing me away to be honest.  Next is "Cavorting" is a lot lighter in musical tone, but the lyrics are barbed wires of spite against the indie scene hipster; this is something I find ironic as the band have since turned into that very beast. But this is not the case at the time of the album release.  They were just the young hunger band trying their collective luck to get some sort of success.  This song is really interest and catchy, so it is two tracks down and all is ok if not mind blowing.  "Bide Your Time" is another example of a song that has nothing wrong with it, but it is not exactly changing my world.  It is very much like the Kooks, Pigeon Detectives and other band's of that ilk.  You can already hear it (and probably have) on Absolute radio.  It just has that natural feel for that sort of radio station and mind set; again nothing wrong here but I am also not totally in love with it either.

"What Took You So Long" is more of the same if the truth be told, nice strumming guitars, big sections for the masses to sing along to and the sort of ease that come from The Sterophonics and that sort of indie music.  It is not hard to see why it is popular and why it sold by the buckets.  "Please Don't" is a song about the breakup of relationship and how sometimes it will never work out staying friends afterwards.  It is a simpler tune and whilst it is again likeable, I am starting to wish there was another gear to this album.  It is just on the same path and not really moving.  "If It Wasn't For Me" with the big organ and slightly more rock riff is a bit better after the last couple of songs, it is short and to the point; well played but out of your head before the last beat of the drum has faded from the sound system.

"No You Don't, No You Don't" is more of the same from this band; it is aiming for the big moments and the sing along value of the indie gig and festival experience.  Something which other bands find hard to do, but it already feels like the band have that part of their repertoire and it would be healthy for the band to do something different.  Which they actually do with "How Come" which is a slow and mindful ballad of sorts, at least it seems like a ballad (maybe to the man who cannot understand why the partner of his mind's eye is with a douche bag).  Whilst it is good to hear that they has a different gear, but I am still finding it hard to love this.  The rock comes back with "Kings Of The New Road" which is a ode to the rebellious youth and their collective ability to do what they want; and yet again I find it hard to keep my attention on the tune and to distinguish it from about 80% of this album.

"Not Nineteen Forever" is the longest song on the album and it was the one I had heard before I was asked to review this.  It is my favourite song of the album, but after hearing most of the album I was a little confused if I had already listened to this song before. But it is a good tune and feels like it probably mean the world to some people.  "Fallowfield Hillbilly" is over and done by the time you reach the middle of the tune, you have really heard this song played many times before (especially on this album).  Ending the album is "Yesterday, Today and Probably Tomorrow" with its soft strumming and slightly mournful feel.  It is a strange track to end the album on as they could have went for a stomp, but it is also pleasant and different.  

I have to be honest this album is not for me, I felt my interest drain towards the middle of the album and it did not change with further listenings.  It is just that side of pedestrian/supermarket indie that does nothing much for me.  It has its market and I know that they people who love this album are more than happy with the results.  For me I felt it would have been better served as an EP and then built towards an album. But I have been informed this is best they have released.  I can't say it was not well played, but it is just dull for me. If you like this sort of stuff, then good on ya and I hope you have fun; however I will be listening to something that does not send me into a vanilla coma.

4 out of ten - Well it is alright, but still......

Best Song - Not Nineteen Forever

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Courteeners website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Alternatively you can listen to the album on Deezer here

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