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    The Courteeners

    Become fan 1 Rate 3 Like & Share
    Genre:Pop, Indie, Rock
    Rank:533 history »
    3.7/5 from 3 users

    Most Popular Songs (more)

    How Good It Was lyrics
    2Revolver lyrics
    No You Didn't, No You Don't lyrics
    4Black & Blue lyrics
    5Bide Your Time lyrics
    6Has He Told You That He Loves You Yet lyrics
    7Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips lyrics
    Summer lyrics
    9White Horses lyrics
    Not Nineteen Forever lyrics

    Most Popular Albums (more)

    701 5.0/5
    Mapping The Rendezvous [2016]
    St. Jude [2008]
    3Concrete Love [2014]
    4Falcon [2010]


    Every now and then a band comes along who click so perfectly with the times you wonder how we ever coped without them. The look and the attitude might lift the spirits and set the pulse racing, but it's the songs which mark them out as genuine communicators, worthy of comparison with the greats.

    "Every band that has come out of Manchester has the weight of the world on their shoulders to be the new Smiths, the Stone Roses or Oasis," singer Liam Fray told Q in January. "And they've all let you down. I know we won't."

    You'll have heard a lot about The Courteeners already, no doubt. Championed by everyone from the OMM to the NME to The Sun (who accurately called them "breathless and infectious") they have, like all great bands, made the ascent up pop's slippery slope look easy.

    Having released limited edition single "Cavorting" in August last year (an NME Track Of The Week), and followed it in October with the frazzled power-pop of "Acrylic", a headline tour in December saw them sell out London's Kings College within hours.

    Having duly notched up their first Top 20 hit with 'What Took You So Long', and completed their first nationwide sell-out tour – complete with obsessive fans, backstage mayhem and praise from a growing army of celebrity admirers - they seem destined to end 2008 peering down on the opposition from the top of end of year polls. Put it down to a kinetic ability to reflect the mood of the nation, sheer tunefulness or Liam's self-mocking, quicksilver lyricism (check the line: "Do you know who I am? /I'm like a Morrissey with some strings") but 'What Took You So Long?' is both taunt and tease, and, already a front runner for Single Of the Year.

    Not that such quick-fire success is likely to make this four piece (Liam, guitarist Conan, bassist Cupello, drummer Campbell) lose their collective grip. Sharp and sardonic, they're a walking reflection of their songs, who take success as the natural result of 18 months of solid devotion to their task.

    "This morning I heard the single had gone Top 20 and it seemed perfectly normal," says Liam on the eve of the release of St. Jude, their much anticipated debut album. "I'm not being arrogant, that's just how it feels"

    We've been here before, of course. In times of need it's invariably a band from the North West who comes along to save British rock from disappearing where the sun don't shine. The Chameleons, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis – all provided a talismanic appeal for subsequent generations of music fans eager to find heroes who reflected life the way they lived it.

    But with the Courteeners, there's a twist. Unlike, say, the paint-splattered antics of The Roses or Noel Gallagher's steely determination to steer his band to the top, their rise has come through more traditional means: word of mouth.

    Liam: "I started playing Open Mic nights purely as a social thing, because all my mates were working and had to go to bed early. After I played a solo gig at 'In The City', the ball was rolling. I'd turn up with my acoustic guitar and there'd be seventy-five, eighty people turning up just to see me.

    I thought to myself, if it's happening, I want to get a band together, because I never wanted to be a solo artist. From then on, it was just a question of getting the other chaps involved. I've lived next door but one to Campbell (drums) since I was three. Mark (bass) and Conan (guitar) I've known since I was ten."

    Sounds simple, doesn't it? But such unforced natural chemistry has resonated with audiences on a level not seen since the rise of The Arctic Monkeys.

    Following a succession of riotous local gigs at The Roadhouse and the Night & Day ("we played anywhere that would have us"), alarm bells started ringing in London A&R departments when a gig on Easter Sunday 2007 pulled four hundred fans. Cue a deal with maverick major Loog and a touring schedule to send even Lemmy into palpitations.

    "We played a tour with The Coral then went straight into the studio for six weeks in London to record the album. We were living in a hotel in Maida Vale, sharing rooms, living out of each other's pockets. Every night I'd come back to the room from the studio and my head would be buzzing from the volume and the pressure to get it right. Then we had a week off at Christmas and it's been full-on every since. That sort of itinerary could break bands, but we thrive on it. We got the songs down and now it's time to spread the word".

    All of which brings us to St. Jude. Recorded over six weeks at Olympic Studios with uber-producer Stephen Street (Smiths/Blur/Babyshambles) it reflects a modern day Britain familiar to anyone who's ever walked down the high street after dark.

    'Cavorting' finds Liam singing about a girl who "Can't stand still/ Because of the sixteen pills she's taken in the mini-bus" with a dry-eyed precision; while the BRMC-esque 'Kings Of the New Road', will touch anyone who's ever felt that speed-rush of adrenalin of a Friday night.

    As for 'Bide Your Time', it's an (a)morality tale to match Alex Turner; a vivid snapshot of the emotional price to pay for a boozy one-night stand once the hangover kicks in.

    Liam might be appalled by what he's seen on scouting missions to package holiday hell but the sight of a room full of match-day lads singing poignant lines like, "But what about your girlfriend that you left at home/ Sitting in her living room all alone" at the tops of their voices tells you he's tapped into their world just as Paul Weller and Ray Davies managed to before him.

    "Most of the album is pretty much about going out, and what happens when you do" shrugs Liam.

    "I tend to write lyrics at either four in the morning or first thing the next day when things are still a bit hazy. That's when you can get to the heart of things, when your guard is down."

    But there's more to St. Jude than drunken fumbling and fast thrills. If 'No You Didn't, No You Don't' perfectly captures the uneasy nostalgia of estranged friends, there are also cryptic lyrical nods to the band's musical heroes peppered throughout (La's fans should head for 'Please Don't') and a healthy disregard for staring at a computer screen as a way of making friends. Throughout, there's a big-hearted spirit (who else could sing: "God bless the band/They're doing all they can") which will touch the hearts of anyone who likes their pop stars to wear their hearts firmly on their sleeves.

    As for "Fallowfield Hillbilly", it's a scathingly hilarious put-down of someone who thinks following fashion is a solution to anything.

    "Honesty is the best policy, I always think," laughs Liam. "People might think we're aggressive, but I'm a hopeless romantic. I love The Smiths, I love (St. Jude cover star) Audrey Hepburn. It's a very personal record, and hopefully people will appreciate that."

    Anyone still harbouring ideas that The Courteeners can't do vulnerable, meanwhile, should listen to 'How Come' and wonder where all that 'last gang in town' nonsense started in the first place.

    Liam: "It really frustrates me when I read that stuff about us, it's lazy journalism. We're not those sort of people, we're sensitive souls really. Y'know, Campbell paints his fingernails sometimes. I occasionally cross my legs. We're quite effeminate when we want to be."

    Indeed. When Liam sighs, "I asked you four times if you'd like to dance" in 'Not Nineteen Forever' he's got more in common with Jarvis Cocker than a certain other Mancunian frontman with a neat haircut and a magnetic presence. And that title?

    "St. Jude is the Patron Saint Of Lost Causes," smiles Liam.

    "Without wanting to sound too pathetic, I've got hope, and I go for it. We want to make music which says something to people about their own lives, and in some small way, makes them better."

    Amen to that. Romantic, headstrong, and choc-a-bloc with great tunes, St. Jude is here to restore your faith in independent rock.

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