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St. Jude (Bonus Tracks Version)

The Courteeners

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Album Review

The long-awaited debut by neo-Brit-pop quartet the Courteeners fits neatly into the continuum of big brash guitar bands from Manchester, with hints of the Smiths (including a typically fine production job by Stephen Street), the Stone Roses (occasional flirtations both with '60s-style jangle pop and psychedelia), and Oasis (frontman Liam Fray's big mouth and apparent lack of internal censor, both of which have already made him a popular interview subject for the U.K. music press) coloring these 12 songs. Now, Fray is not the equal of those bands as either a distinctive frontman or as an instantly memorable songwriter, but the best parts of St. Jude are at least superior to, say, Menswear or Cast. Tracks like the singles "What Took You So Long?" and "Not Nineteen Forever" fairly leap out of the gate, all jangly guitar lines and galloping rhythm sections, topped with Fray's endearingly yobbish vocals and unabashed sentimental lyrical streak, and the more measured material throws enough changeups to keep the album from getting tiring. Time will tell whether the Courteeners have more than one good album in them, but there is always room for this spirited take on British indie rock.

Biography

Formed: 2006 in Manchester, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Hailing from Manchester and featuring an outspoken frontman, Liam Fray, with a penchant for both talking up his own positive attributes and getting into verbal scraps with other bands, the Courteeners received regular comparisons in the U.K. press to the leading lights of three previous waves of Manc Brit-pop: the Smiths, the Stone Roses, and Oasis. The band's alternately jangly and bombastic brand of indie guitar rock bears the influence of all three acts, as well as comparisons to contemporaries...
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St. Jude (Bonus Tracks Version), The Courteeners
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