They’ve done it again, the lads from Manchester continue to assert themselves as one of the city’s finer products and it can only be said that as long as they keep on going, they could be the best since Oasis. Certainly now, they’re one of the most popular live bands and have developed a devout following, they’ve even cracked a town down South called London.
“Concrete Love” begins with “White Horses”, an atmospheric that holds elements of heavy drumming and blurred vocals – however, Liam has previously spoken of being unsuccessful in starting a live set with a new release, and this will take some time to fight for the opening spot that “Are You In Love With A Notion?” from 2013’s “Anna” currently holds. From the previously-reviewed EP, “How Good It Was” is second, already popular and sure to be one of the first new tracks to feature live.
From here, the album is a lyrical masterclass. “Small Bones” begins delicately and develops into a beautiful orchestral anthem that clings around a fast-paced drumbeat and eventually an authentic clap. However, “Her effervescence was effortless, nonchalant, bona-fide.” is a touch of more to come from Fray.
A current personal favourite, “Has He Told You That He Loves You Yet?” is a song of protection and the naivety of the girl in focus is illustrated perfectly as Liam Fray describes the boyfriend as “fumbling around for an excuse again..” and telling her that “that boy he don’t deserve you.” It also sounds as brilliant as it looks written down, which is a bonus… obviously.
“Black and Blue” and “International” are quick-tongued tracks. The former is a panic of the thought of “another stranger in your bed..” The latter sounds like a Mike Skinner-inspired description of Liam’s critics. “In principle, I’m alright. In principle, I’m invincible.” It is not a description of arrogance, however, it is a song of support for an unknown person “rattling the shutters of his private hell.”
Before the albums first-released single, “Summer”, “Next Time You Call” is a question to a girl who seems to hang her lovers out in no man’s land, and The Courteeners tell her “You know that I hate your love.”
Track 9 is “Saboteur” and is heavier, a powerful metaphor that is effectively visually using a wolf’s howl getting louder, “baby, please stop.” “Dreamers” is an appropriate follow-on from Fray’s offensive to Simon Crowell and his over-produced garbage which he insist to strain towards the charts. “But what about my life? Who is singing about that?” Fray more admires “Dreamers and writers, risk takers and fighters.” The final track is a well-structured finale to the album, finishing with the lyric “Let’s fill our boots and start all over again.” It is a love song and described the feelings that fuse two people together, “We’ll get a hotel and sleep until they knock, let them break the door down.” It is crafted to near-perfection.
The album could be the best yet lyrically, with a tour announcement imminent on Thursday after gigs in Liverpool and Glasgow on Tuesday and Wednesday, the band are in for a massive end to the year. A job well done, very well done.