Release Date: February 17th, 2017
Label: Flying Nun Records
Sometimes, more of the same can be a good thing. The benefits of sticking-to-the-course are evident on The Courtneys’ sophomore release, titled The Courtneys II, where sugarcoated emotional wallops come packaged in neat vocal harmonies and fuzzy guitars. The album is four years in the making, and despite this (relatively) lengthy absence, the band continues to sound a little bit like a garage pop cross between Best Coast and Pavement.
While distorted, feedback-laden guitars are truly the way to my heart, I was really sold on The Courtneys II on the basis of their lyricism. For example, “Lost Boys” has an absolutely infectious chorus that just so happens to be about a vampire boyfriend (“You look just like you did in 1986/and that’s why you’re a vampire teenage boyfriend”). Album opener, “Silver Velvet”, is just as strong, with emotive and impeccably catchy lyrics about heartbreak, and is anchored by a strong, driving rhythm section in the verses. Somehow, the band makes heartbreak sound like summer.
Interestingly, there is some evidence that life on the road as a touring band has had (at least) an indirect influence on The Courtneys II. Songs like “Country Road”, “Minnesota” and “Tour” seem to deal with the difficulties of maintaining relationships while on the road. Maybe that’s why this album sounds like it’d be the perfect companion for a roadtrip.