Album Review: The Courteeners “Mapping The Rendezvous”

Album number 5 from Manchester band The Courteeners was premiered tonight on Radio X, with 4 tracks already released as singles to wet the appetite over the past few months and a date at Old Trafford next May in the diary it’s a new chapter for the band.

Opening track Lucifer’s Dreams is a rip-roaring start to Mapping The Rendezvous, fast-paced and breathless. Fray describes this as “going for the jugular,” it’s aggressive and assertive. Similarly, Kitchen follows suit with heavy guitar and with lyrical domesticity and a couple of banjo chords added in, it’s different and fresh. Two more songs that have already been released are third and fourth on the track listing, No One Will Ever Replace Us and the contrasting De La Salle, the latter being one of the most interesting lyrically that the band have ever recorded. An exploration of historical characters and their ordinary lifestyles, light hearted and entertaining. “Good things come to those who wait,” a little bit like this album.

A string of 4 unheard tracks begins with Tip Toes, a bright song that’ll get you on exactly those. An electronic “pop record,” the talent of these lads further evidenced. It’s followed by the grooving Not For TomorrowFinest Hour, another romantic effort in which Fray’s voice is accompanied only by a soft and slow piano for a large proportion, suddenly the album makes you sway. Their finest hour? You could argue that, at least this sound. The Dilettante is next, more piano and more sharp drums courtesy of Mark Campbell. “New love beats jealousy,” they say. This love might not be new, but you’re bound to be jealous if you’re not a part of this, they’ve got it all.

Throughout the album you can definitely feel the French inspiration, the band have spent a lot of time their over the recording period as well as sessions in Scotland, it’s an album that have grown gradually with some lyrics first penned back before they released even their first album. It’s an organic process, if you like, and feels like it’s been released ripe and in prime condition to be played again and in the build up to live UK dates in November.

Ninth song Modern Love was played live on Soccer AM on Saturday and features an incredible performance from Daniel Moores, it’s followed by Most Important which features a big drum sound, a bold love song that casts shades of Small Bones and Beautiful Head from the last LP, Concrete Love.

More romance with Most Important, the penultimate tune before final track The 17th. Released back in August it went down a treat and rounds off the album perfectly. It’s dynamic and will sound incredible live again over the next couple of months and next year at Old Trafford.

Another magnificent album from Manchester’s premier export to the rest of the country, I didn’t expect anything less.

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