The Courteeners - ANNA

Heralded as a new direction, ANNA still has classic Courteeners written all over it. Liam Fray's arrogant vocals backed by radio friendly melodies will win them new fans while still reassuring the old guard. "You think that you're so clever, and you think you know it all," Fray purrs in the lovely pop of 'Push Yourself", and much of the album follows the same formula. The cool defiance of lead single 'Lose Control' is a winner as is 'Sharks Are Circling', which shows off the band's knack for crafting sharp tunes. Unfortunately the schmaltzy 'Marquee' misses the mark completely; Fray is much better at playing the cocksure lad rather than the scorned lover.

Songs like the pretty 'When You Want Something You Can't Have' and the marvellous fun of 'Here Come The Old Men' emit some of the old spark of their debut, and the excellent 'Money' already sounds like it will be one of the highlights of the live shows, with real muscle and bravado that the band do so well. Already heroes in their hometown of Manchester, this album may see them conquer the rest of the UK. They'll give it a damn good try anyway.



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