We saw The Courteeners on an early tour, and singer Liam Fray looked as if he’d outgrown the sub-Oasis lad rock featured on the band’s debut album. In hindsight perhaps he just thought he’d outgrown venues the size of the Sugarmill, because The Courteeners never left the lad rock behind. Fray has the ambition of Bono, but just lacks the songs to get to U2’s status.
This new album is ok but no more, though it’s more palatable than their earlier stuff to people who aren’t lads, and don’t drink Stella or say “Our kid” a lot. Opener White Horses is one of the stronger tracks, suggesting they’ve been listening to Delphic’s dance rock and Kasabian. How Good It Was is also not bad, though it’s all been done before. The gentler Small Bones is good but, as the album goes on, it all gets a bit landfill. The basic premise of The Courteeners is that they’re brilliant because they say they are; in fact this is all a bit average.