New Musical Express (NME) - 80 Based on rating 4/5
Are you [a]Blur[/a] or [a]Oasis[/a]?A semi-metaphorical question that bizarrely seems almost as relevant in divvying up Britain’s indie fans today as it did sat around the radio as Mark Goodier announced the chart battle result in 1995. ‘Art pop’ versus ‘real rock’n’roll’, or shandy-drinking poofs versus knuckle-dragging lager-monkeys? It’s an age-old tribal divide. It all feels very silly if you’re feeling rational (ie, boring).
Tacitly hailed as lad rock saviours when they initially arrived on the scene in 2007, The Courteeners quickly revealed that they were little more than one-trick ponies with the release of their debut LP St Jude. A collection of one-dimensional indie rockers topped with gobby, occasionally downright nasty lyrics, the band seemed such a caricature of what you might expect from a bunch of Mancunian lads, they could’ve been guest stars in Shameless and nobody would’ve batted an eyelid. The fact that the singer was called Liam, and his band received the dubious patronage of Morrissey only added to the suspicion that The Courteeners were, in fact, a joke being played on us by the city of Manchester.
"You're not 19 forever," sang the Courteeners' Liam Fray in 2008, and thus, two years later he's back – a bit more grown-up and longing for home. And therein lies one of Falcon's major problems. Its best track is a five-minute paean to a city left behind, and Elbow have already done the love letters to Manchester – and much more beautifully.
The Moz-approved Manchester band’s second LP is distinctive and impressive. Chris Roberts 2010 Forget preconceptions of boorish Manc laddishness – Morrissey’s championing of this fast-rising band is beginning to make sense. Two years on from their top five debut St. Jude, Liam Fray and his Middleton homeboys present an album to seal their role as the Stereoasisphonics-lookalikes that it’s okay to like.