The Courteeners has already attracted the attention of rock icons like Debbie Harry and Noel Gallagher in its short life.
Working again with producer Joe Cross on its fourth studio album Concrete Love, the Manchester-based indie rock band continues unleashing memorable, expansive guitar riffs built for arena and festival shows.
White Horses features oppressive industrial beats that almost form a disco groove underneath a disconnected guitar hook, spiced up by the country twang of acoustic guitars. It is an ominous album opener, as frontman Liam Fray chases listeners down through an aural tunnel.
Fray delivers a few deadpan performances, as if to allow the music to speak for itself. On the lilting Has He Told You That He Loves You Yet, the watery-sounding background harmonies give way to an earworm of a chorus. Black & Blue races with the momentum of a punk track, as he passively mutters lines like ‘beat myself black and blue’ with a slight drawl like Liam Gallagher (thanks to that Mancunian accent).
Propulsive guitar riffs energise tracks like How Good It Was, the devilish, sinister Saboteur (which includes an surprising synth breakdown) and the buzz of Next Time You Call (which turns ‘I hate your love’ into a repetitive yet contagious chorus)
Summer tones down on the loud guitars and is the obvious radio-friendly lead single. A pleasant, sunny track that recalls early 1960s recordings, it is supported by whistles and the bass strumming yet another catchy riff.
Unfortunately, the album ends on a muted note with Dreamers and Beautiful Head, as neither really sticks in the ear despite their wistful sentiment.
Despite a few shortcomings, the Courteeners’ new album proves why the band has performed well as a live act, as its guitar riffs and choruses should incite sing-alongs at its concerts.