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The Courtneys II *
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- Personnel: Courtney Love (vocals, guitar); Jen Twynn Payne (vocals, drums); Sydney Koke (vocals).
- Audio Mixer: Vince Casamatta.
- Recording information: The Noise Floor.
- Photographer: Andrew Volk.
- A pleasantly fuzzed indie rock trio from the Pacific Northwest, the Courtneys made their debut in 2013 with a self-titled set that revealed a strong melodic sense and an affinity for hooky indie pop of the Flying Nun variety. Two years later, the hard-working Vancouver band earned a roster spot on that very label after impressing the venerable Kiwi pop empire during a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Their Flying Nun-issued follow-up, The Courtneys II, expands on the promise of their debut with ten more riffy odes to ’90s pop culture, good times, good friends, and errant slackerdom. In Jen Twynne Payne the Courtneys boast one of rock’s great rarities, the lead singing drummer, although with songs as catchy as “Silver Velvet” and “Tour,” it’s an edge they hardly require. Payne, along with bassist/singer Sydney Koke and guitarist Courtney Gavin, churns out propulsive, semi-laid-back indie rock jams that are streamlined enough to lift them out of the underground, but have enough rough edges to keep them honest. The Courtneys are a power pop act at their core, and their natural melodicism and solid songwriting are what makes this record an engaging listen. The nearly seven-minute bubblegum epic “Lost Boys,” which references the late-‘80s teenage vampire flick of the same name, would wear out its welcome far sooner without the Courtneys’ innate sense of craft. The song’s devolution into a rugged wall of guitar scuzz is actually quite nice and cleanses the palate for the brief, riffy “Virgo,” another highlight. They may not have broken the mold, but delivering a rock-solid album that plays well from front to back is no easy feat, and this second volume is a winner. ~ Timothy Monger
Professional Reviews: Spin – “[T]he band’s sophomore record II is the kind of neo-grunge-pop rumination that road trip soundtracks are made of — infectious hooks, tight arrangements, and angsty-but-still-cheerful lyrics.”
Clash (Magazine) – “A stripped down title from a group who deal in stripped down songwriting, it’s infused with an incredible, unrelenting energy.”
Format: CD (1 Disc); Stereo
Release Date: 17 February, 2017
Label: Flying Nun (New Zealand)