« Previous | Main | Next »

The Courteeners - 'Take Over The World'

Post categories:

Fraser McAlpine | 10:09 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Liam Fray of the Courteeners

Liam Fray is one of the best indie front-men there is. He's all puffed-up hair, cocky attitude, and withering one-liners dripping from his snarky lips. He's got verbal dexterity to spare, and crucially, isn't afraid to drop his guard and appear soppy. That's how hard he is.

And his confidence is backed up by a legion of ardent fans, fans who've ignored the moany reviews from people like me. Heck, Morrissey's one of them, and he's a legend. So what could some no-mark music hack have to say that could dent Liam's rhino-tough hide?

Well how about this: once again the Courteeners, the band he leads, the band who play his songs, the band he could make sound like anything his fertile brain desires, have JUST failed to meet the potential in Liam's finger-pointing swagger.

I don't want to have to say it, but it's not healthy to hide your feelings.

Liam clearly thinks his band sound like Elbow playing U2 songs. And maybe he's right. Trouble is, to these ears it's more like the Twang playing some of Gary Barlow's more grandiose Take That numbers.

Oh sure, it's music on the same scale, the cavernous reverberations behind the band are the same, together with the naked desire to call down the angels from on high to pat them all on the head, pinch their cheeks and do that clicky-finger thing teenage boys do when they want to look cool.

But to get this kind of incantation right, you've got to abandon self-consciousness and throw your whole heart in, like Bono does, like Guy Garvey does. Liam, for all that he's got the confidence and that way with words, can't resist making sure we all know that he's still cool. So he throws in a line like:

"I've never returned a cliche before, and I'll probably never do so"

So we all know he's aware there's something cheesy coming, but just this once, eh?

That little awkward line is incredibly annoying, and breaks up the scene of two lovers before it has even got started. And it's a really odd thing to say, especially when the whole flipping song is nothing but cliche upon homage upon knowing reference upon naked idea copying.

Ultimately, it's up to us to decide whether Liam's ideas are fresh, second hand, or barely worth repeating. And if they're good to go, we don't need reminding in the lyrics, thanks all the same.

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: April 12th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.