People say that the second album is the hardest but I don't believe that - the 'difficult second album' curse generally lowers expectations for album two so you're either underwhelmed or blown away. Album three is the important one, the one that determines whether you're a solid albums band or a repeat offender with more bad than good albums under your belt. Thankfully, 'Anna' has knocked it out of the park for The Courteeners.
It's far too easy to write them off as another lad-rock band and banish them to the depths of musical history alongside The Twang, The Enemy, Reverend & The Makers and The Pigeon Detectives to name a few. The Courteeners are cleverer than this, even if very few acknowledge it.
'Anna' sounds like a band revitalised, a band that are having fun and embracing their youth, exactly what you want from a band. Take 'Welcome To The Rave'. It sounds like it should be a souped-up Calvin Harris-esque disco-lite track, but in the hands of Fray et al they've created a beautifully euphoric number, and one that will no doubt become a dance floor filler.
Lead single 'Lose Control' is an excellent example of Courteeners 3.0. Gone are the lad-rock mannerisms that sat amongst their debut 'St Jude', replaced by considered and eloquent lyrics coupled with more mature and developed guitar lines. A statement of intent perhaps, distancing themselves from the post-Libertines and post-Oasis wave of guitar led bands that create generic landfill indie, producing something rather exciting and interesting to listen to.
That's not to say that this album is perfect. It has highs and lows like any good LP, but on this one the lows like 'Money' and 'Save Rosemary In Time' are offset by tracks that verge on perfect, like the aforementioned 'Lose Control' and the epic 'Van Der Graaff'. It's often a staggering proclamation that a song itself could bring an arena crowd to it's feet, but if any song can do it it's this one. A pace changing monster that is sure to dominate their live shows and quite possibly the festival season.
'Anna' is a well-rounded album that flows brilliantly from start to end, not that you want it to end. sadly robbed of the number one it deserved, The Courteeners really are staking their claim a classic British guitar band and are certainly a stark reminder that 2013 is the year of the guitar.
'Anna' is out now, and available to purchase at amazon.co.uk. Find more info at thecourteeners.com.