From The Buzzcocks to The Verve, from The Smiths to Oasis, Manchester has long held a deserved reputation as the pulsing heart of great British guitar music. In recent years however, attention has switched to the Yorkshire side of the Pennines attracted away from Manchester’s baggy sound by the meteoric rise of The Arctic Monkeys and the big labels desperate clamour to cash in by giving a deal to anyone Alex Turner ever drank with (I mean, seriously, have you heard the Reverend and the Makers album?).
But now in 2008, one band is set to re-stake Mancunian claims to the indie throne. A decade old friendship formed in the Middleton area of the city and the formidable and undeniably Turner influenced song writing talents of front-man Liam Fray, have created something a bit special, The Courteeners.
Fray, who describes himself on the music-media bashing What Took You So Long as ‘like a Morrisey with some strings’ has all the cocky bravado of Manchester’s other famous Liam, and also carries a familiar penchant for badmouthing other bands. But really that’s where the inevitable Oasis comparisons should stop. These are songs, not anthems (although that won’t prevent the sweaty throngs filling the nations venues from screaming every word in the direction of the stage at their riotous live shows) and Fray takes a much more direct lyrical approach which results is a sneering cynicism that owes more to Pulp’s Common People than to Wonderwall.
Fast becoming folk heroes in Manchester (their slot at the Manchester Academy sold out in half an hour) and publicly lauded by such huge names as John Squire and Bono the hype machine has been in full effect for a while now. With current single, Not Nineteen Forever all over the UK’s more discerning airwaves their much anticipated debut long player, St Jude is set for release on Monday. A surprise omission is the bands second single, Acrylic, which was released in October last year and reached number 44 in the UK.
If you’ve yet to hear the phenomenon that is The Courteeners, it’s not a bad place to start an acquaintance that is certain to turn into a love affair. Check it out below.
The Courteeners are here, and Manchester is back!