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The Courteneers Falcon
Released 22 February 2010
Producer Ed Buller
Label Polydor
Length 48:33
Genre Indie rock
Website www.thecourteeners.com

To be perfectly honest, having heard the ‘Hard-Fi go disco’ stylings of lead single ‘You Overdid It Doll’,  expectations for The Courteeners second outing were not high.

With this in mind, despite being lazily titled ‘The Opener’, Falcon’s first track actually exhibits a considered musicality of which their lad rock contemporaries are incapable.  For every lumpen Oasis-esque “tuuune” this album throws up there is a worthwhile interlude into melancholic self-effacement.

Slower numbers ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Cameo Brooch’ suggest singer Liam Fray should betray his ego-driven instincts more often.  When stripped of their stadium-sized pretence The Courteener’s sound refreshingly like a British version of The National – all mumbled baritone and ghostly piano.

Producer Ed Buller (Suede, White Lies) has contributed his usual reverb-drenched bombast to proceedings, allowing new single ‘Take Over The World’ (a song with more than a passing similarity to Take That’s ‘Rule The World’) and closer ‘Will It Be This Way Forever?’ the kind of hollow grandeur they deserve.

Lyrically Fray does himself no favours either.  Dropping clangers such as, “You’ve not been to Woolworths to buy your mix” (‘Sycophant’) and, “You’re a space-cadet dressed in fibre-glass” (the aforementioned ‘You Overdid It Doll’) The Courteeners pose no challenge to Elbow or Arctic Monkeys at the high-end of British songwriting.

For all its obvious flaws though, Falcon is still a listenable piece of Brit-rock.  When not striving to fill the Gallagher gap in empty gesture and recycled snarl, Liam Fray and his cohorts show they can carve out a likeably understated sound.  And in the end, it’s The Courteeners hints of humility that might just save Falcon from the Be Here Now bargain bin.  D’you know what I mean?

- Danny Carroll