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The Courteeners- Concrete Love

Review of new The Courteeners’ new album, Concrete Love.

Six years ago, The Courteeners released St Jude. It was a good time to be a British indie rock fan – with tracks such as ‘Not Nineteen Forever’, ‘What Took You So Long’ and ‘Cavorting’ causing beer-soaked dance floors in the north of England to swell and buzz in ways not seen since the Gallagher brothers held the reins. The critics didn’t really like it, but who cared? This music wasn’t made for London-centric music journos, busy fawning over The Foals and Kate Nash – this was a record which resonated with thousands of working-class youths searching for a chink of light in a Britain choked by the economic crisis and Flo Rida.

Six years, and two albums later, The Courteeners are back with ‘Concrete Love’. The album’s first track showcases the bands progression as it boasts a quasi-electronic, atmospheric sound – inspiring imaginings of Ian Brown’s ‘Stellify’. Most of the album has a large, stadium rock feel about it – intentionally designed to complement the fact that their upcoming UK tour will revolve around large festival stages and packed out arenas. ‘Fallowfield Hillbilly’ may sound awesome in a dingy club of 200 people, but ‘Summer’ is good enough to entertain 20,000 festival goers at Reading/Leeds. The thunderous guitars and gruff vocals of ‘Black and Blue’ serve as a welcome throwback to the St Jude days – showing that the lads still love to bash a guitar every now and again. Fray also shows that he’s not lost his knack for the soppy stuff with ‘Small Bones’ – a beautifully written, emotive track.

Overall, ‘Concrete Love’ is an album which grows stronger with each listen. Whilst those expecting old school Courteeners might feel a tad disappointed, this record shows that the band can step it up a notch and appeal to a much wider, less northern, Brit-Rock audience.

7/10 Joe Food




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