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The Courteeners - 'That Kiss'

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Fraser McAlpine | 08:17 UK time, Tuesday, 30 September 2008

CourteenersMedia studies students could (and probably do) write essay after essay on what happens to a middle-ranking indie band when they get the full 'Future Of Music' treatment from the NME or Kerrang! or whichever beat publication you happen to prefer. The NME is usually the best example to work from, because they are very good at appearing to have a corporate policy which demands that everyone with ears has to love their big new thing. This appears to last until just after the band's (and it's always a band) first album comes out, and then little snarky comments appear in reviews of other acts, the person editing the letters page comes out as an un-believer, and before you know it, it looks like they have once again built someone up, only to knock them down again.

The truth of the matter is probably a little more boring. Magazine writer falls in love with band, convinces the editor that it's worth running a massive puff piece on their eternal brilliance, writes feature. Mag runs feature, other writers wait to see what they can do with the sudden attention, then, unconvinced, start to pick holes in the facade. It's bound to happen when you have a publication which is devoted to music, and a wide range of tastes within the ranks of your journalists. Plus they LOVE to bicker.

In fact, the only reason the NME is a particularly good example is that it prides itself on a) finding the latest new thing and b) sticking two fingers up at The Establishment. The fact that The Establishment is something they have been very heavily involved in creating (which, with rock and metal being still considered as non-mainstream music, you couldn't really say of Kerrang!) is probably best ignored.

So, whoever it was at the NME that decided that the Courteeners were worth paying attention to probably still thinks that they are. The trouble is, most of the people who are still venturing an opinion on the band these days tend to be from the other camp, The Unconvinced.

This song will do nothing to change this situation. Musically it's heavily in debt to the band James. Liam's scuffed leather boot of a voice is still either passionate and bruised or hoarse and quacky, depending on your point of view, and they still can't seem to get past writing songs which repeat the same short chord progression over and over and over again.

That said, this is probably the most affecting song the band have released so far. It's not cocky, it doesn't point a finger at someone else and claim superiority, and there's a story in the lyrics which isn't your run-of-the-mill tale of unrequited indie passion (or worse, unrequited indie passion which has curdled and now the girl is due a lyrical pasting for being a floozy/nasty piece of work).

Ironically, it's a song which isn't a million miles away from the NME's current big favourite band, Glasvegas. Add a ton of reverb and change the regional accent and you're there.

So there's your conclusion. Music mags probably don't deliberately build them up to knock them down, but they do like to state a preference, and then wander off to find something else. Class dismissed!

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released:
October 6th
www.thecourteeners.com
www.myspace.com/thecourteeners

(Fraser McAlpine)

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