Release Date: Aug 18, 2014
Record label: Cooperative
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival
The Courteeners fourth studio album, 2014's Concrete Love, is a sweeping, organically layered, '80s-influenced effort. Building upon the anthemic synth pop of their previous 2013 album, Anna, the Manchester outfit delve even deeper into a layered post-punk sound that finds them adding more guitars and even strings on some cuts. Featured here are such singles as the driving "How Good It Was" and the romantic "Summer." .
The Courteeners will always be a lightning rod for anyone with a distaste of guitar-based Mancunian triumphalism, the cottage industry of self-proclaimed prophets and bullshitters conceived by Morrissey and the Gallaghers to which Liam Fray belongs. In his defence, the axe-grinders usually overlook the list of not-inconsiderable achievements his band have to crow about, but coming off the back of last year’s ‘Anna’ – The Courteeners’ best album to date – you suspect that ‘Concrete Love’ will only entrench opinions, not change them. Fray’s least of all, of course.
Courteeners lost some baggage in the shape of their ‘The’ last year with the release of “Anna”; a sign of their age perhaps? Maturity? Weight loss? It normally suggests a change in direction, but from where I’m sitting Courteeners remain (apart from Liam’s haircut) the same; a fixed mantelpiece trinket in the halls of indie. Not necessarily a bad thing; the band have a stamp, a trademark, a ‘sound’ which they are glued to. Liam Fray has a penchant for floating love songs and disgruntled Mancunian ballads, and it does work - but isn’t getting a little samey? Following on from the album taster How Good It Was EP, the outfit have revealed their fourth long player Concrete Love.