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I waited for this album with great anticipation after I loved the single 'You Overdid It Doll' and also liked their previous album. However, this album is a bit underwhelming. It does have a few good songs on it but most of the others don't quite do it for me. The lyrics aren't very inventive. In 'The Opener' they seem a bit too obvious and contain a few boring lists. 'Take Over The World' has a bit of a more optimistic feel and is shorter. This was played on some advert for the Olympics which gives you an idea of what it's like. The lyrics are still a bit poor, it seems like rhyming words have just been mashed in. I still like it but it's no favourite. 'You Overdid It Doll' is a great song and one of my favourites of 2010 but it doesn't make up for the rest of the album. It's all a bit samey and uninspiring and I can't say I'm aggrieved when it finishes after 50 minutes. Maybe I should give it a bit more of a chance but I've tried 3 times to listen to the whole thing but I just cant make it. Disappointing.
As a true fan from the release of Courteener's very first single 'Cavorting' in August 2007, both 'St Jude' and 'Falcon' were eagerly anticipated by me. The music fan's bible, NME magazine, rewarded 'Falcon' with an impressive 8 out of 10 just before the release in February 2010. Fans worried the second album would stray too far from the raw, almost unplugged sound of the first album; that perhaps fame had gotten the best of the Manchester born foursome, and they'd end up the same as the likes of Kings of Leon- forgetting their musical roots and producing a generic, almost poppy album to please the masses, but letting down the fans that got them in that very position. However, thousands of Courteeners fans, myself included, breathed a huge sigh of relief when 'Falcon' was finally released. Almost following the same pattern as 'St Jude', with most, if not all of the songs being catchy, with a few absolute gems, as well as a beautiful slower song or two thrown in, 'Falcon' did not fail to impress. The songs on the album seem to have a lot more meaning behind them compared to 'St Jude'. 'Fallowfield hillbilly', for example, a song about the annoyance of someone who thinks they're musically superior, seems almost empty compared to 'Cameo brooch' from 'Falcon', a song that hints at abuse ('with your father's bruise on your arm/ telling me it's not a cause for alarm/ I will always be there for you/ whenever you need me, someone to talk to') Arguably, the band have grown up a lot in two years. The slower songs on the album seem more heartfelt than the likes of 'Please don't' and 'Yesterday, today and probably tomorrow' from 'St Jude'. 'Last of the ladies' in particular is on a whole new level. A quiet, hauntingly beautiful piano piece in the background gives Liam's voice a chance to shine. His voice is quieter, and softer than some fans may be used to- the Liam almost whispering 'I'm in to the way that you're in to me, like a scene from the silver screen' could be a different person to the Liam shouting 'can you play guitar my boy? Can you fuck!' two years before. But he wouldn't want us all to think he'd gone soft would he? The lyrics in 'good times are calling me' ('I'm still young, I need life more than I need a wife, the good times are calling me') as well as the typical Courteeners-esque partnership of catchy guitar riffs and the underlying tones of the bass guitar, and Liam's signature Manchester shout in songs such as 'Sychophant' and 'Scratch your name upon my lips' tell all us old fans that they've not lost their original ways. The beauty of this album, like any good album, is that it has the potential to give away something new every time it's listened to. I had it on in the background whilst writing this, for example, and stopped what I was doing when I heard the 15 seconds worth of instrumental halfway through the song. As a fan, I'm slightly biased and would struggle to find fault with it. Maybe don't make us wait two years next time? That's enough.
Well here is the second album from The Courteeners "Falcon" and eagerly anticipated personally after the first excellent album "St Jude" and seeing the band live a V Fest in 2008 - if you want to see how that went check out my review. Now my first memory of hearing of The Courteeners was my mate singing "Not Nineteen Forever" over and over again and one day I said what is that song he told me and after that I was hooked and St Jude has been a regular player both on my Laptop and Ipod Touch. So what did I expect from this album? Well I expected it to produce some of the same great lyrics and sounds that had been produced in the past and with the first single "You Overdid It Doll" being released before the album it gave you a taste of what you could expect and for me was not a let down and just proved that the boys were back with a bang. Now I am reviewing the Special Edition of Falcon so this is 12 songs and then 5 songs from the "Second Folio" so 17 songs to get your head around and see if Liam Fray had produced the goods once again. Well here is a track by track account of this two disc album and some descriptions of how the song makes me feel and if its up to the mark :- Falcon :- Track 1 :- The Opener Well the first track on an album needs to set a mood for the rest of the album and this song certainly does that. Its the band at their best and has tinges of the influence of bands like The Smiths expecially with the line "I miss the city I love but I`ve been having and affair with LA, New York, Dundee and Doncaster if I may dare of course I do." which takes genius from Panic by The Smiths. In general this song is about life and the things you get up to and is a cracking start to the album - 9/10. Track 2 :- Take Over The World This is going to be the second single off Falcon and I think a decent choice its a bit low key to some of the other songs but its says about taking over the world but for me personally it would have to be with somebody who actually cared and it sounds like this couple are ready to battle whatever crosses their path and isa another quality tune - 9/10. Track 3 :- Cross My Heart & Hope To Fly When I first heard this song I was taken back as it was just a song I could totally relate to and is something I wish I could do on a regular basis but just shows genius lyrics and sends a chill down my spine in a good way. This is the your Not Nineteen Forever track of the album like was remembered as the signature tune on St Jude this song will be the same for Falcon and if people sing it you will want to hear more and more of the album and its a song that gets you buzzing and thinking and is a definite future single and a winner for me - 10/10. Track 4 :- You Overdid It Doll The first single from Falcon and for me is a song that does the band justice and I think it was a good choice for the first single off the album. Think its just saying how some ladys can overdo how they look and how they see celebrities and famous people and going too far and again top lyrics which show what qualities Liam Fray has as a songwriter - 9/10. Track 5 :- Lullaby I think this is a very heartfelt song and shows quite a bit of emotion than in other songs. I think if you sung a Lullaby it would have to be for somebody special and not somebody who was just a passing phase and I think it means a lot when you have a song for the one you have feelings for - 8/10. Track 6 :- Good Times Are Calling Now I love this song for the fact that its such a feel good factor and that even if you have somebody that you you have feelings for that you need to live your life before you settle down and some people start even before they have lived their life but many have the chance to live and travel and have fun before having responsibilities - 9/10. Track 7 :- The Rest Of The World Has Gone Home This is LF at his acoustic best and has got some cool lyrics like what was on "What Took You So Long" off St Jude. Again so real to life and the things we do on a daily basis and what we can relate to. I would be going to the "Halifax Cash Machine" though as I am not with RBS lol - 9/10. Track 8 - Sychophant Not one of my favourite songs on the album but some of the lyrics and genius and it takes a while to get into the song but once it kicks in it gives off some decent vibes and is a good tune - 8/10. Track 9 - Cameo Brooch This is a different song to get into and is a song that I dont mind but its not a song on the album that I really get excited about and that I would get excited about and the only person you dont want to offend is your mum as its her brooch - 7/10. Track 10 - Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips Now this is the kind of song that really gets me going and is really upbeat and I truly do love the lyrics and everything about it a track that I think could easily be single and another reason to listen to this album again and again brilliant! - 10/10. Track 11 - Last Of The Ladies At first I was not sure about this song but as I have listened to it more it is an emotional song and grows on you just like songs did from St Jude and this is one of those songs that can get you on a good or bad day - 8/10. Track 12 - Will It Be This Way Forever A fantastic end to this part of the album and again top lyrics and you kind of wish that this was in the middle of the album but then again you need a great finish and this song really does have that and gets you in the mood for a night out or a gig - 10/10. Second Folio :- Track 1 :- Revolver This song has more great lyrics and basically is saying that if you wanted to finish me off ypu could have gone for the safe option than causing a scene and is a bit of a drama - quality! - 9/10. Track 2 :- Bojangles This is a bit of a crazy fun track but has all the elements of a song for me that it needs and what makes it another belting tune and just makes you happy that there is a second part to Falcon - 9/10. Track 3 :- Your The Man This song for me is about looking up to someone and aspiring to be like someone and I can relate to that in real life but they can be a letdown too but still an awesome track - 9/10. Track 4 :- Meanwhile Back At The Ranch Not a bad song but its a bit too western for me a bit but as the title suggests thats what it should be like but still some decent lyrics - 8/10. Track 5 :- Forget The Weight Of The World This is the final song of this special edition album and is a song that is good but not brilliant and still gets you going in the right areas which is what most of the album did for me - 8/10. This is another brilliant offering from The Courteeners and just like with their first album St Jude this will get played again and again. I overall give the album 9/10 as I do not think the weaker songs on the album should bring down the overall rating. I am so lucky that I am off to see the band at The Leeds O2 Arena on Friday with a bunch of mates and it will also be 13 years since my dad passed so will be an emotional day for me but I am a positive person and I am going to really enjoy myself as it is what my dad would have wanted and if he was still here today he would have wanted to come to the gig too. The album is £6.99 at Amazon even though it shows on here £7.97 for just Falcon on its own but if you want Falcon and Second Folio which is the Two Disc Edition which I have it is £11.99 which people may think for 5 tracks like £1 each but I personally think it is worth the purchase. The band as I have just said are currently gigging and you check what they are up to at the moment at http://www.thecourteeners.com/ and see what this fantastic band is all about. If you like your indie music then this is a must album for you and if you have never tried it or never heard of The Courteeners then check them out they are so worth a listen. One warning I will give is there is swearing on the album so not one for the kids really. I hope you enjoyed this review and as always thanks for reading. Rob :)
Second albums are supposed to be "difficult" but no one seems to have told Liam Fray. For me this is a step forward from the debut album St Judes. The songs are still observational and acute: perhaps more personal even than on the debut album. Whereas a lot of the time on St Jude the songwriter was an observer, looking in, now he seems prepared to engage: In You overdid it , Doll he speaks directly to the Doll in question: same with The Rest of the world has gone home. It feels more personal and none more so than the opener which is either a hymn to or a love song adressed to Manchester. The most impressive thing about the album is the way the music has matured. Melodies are strong but the whole album is streets ahead in terms of sophistication and in terms of its use of keyboards strings and harmonies. Perhaps things get a little predictable towards the end of the album as acoustic and band numbers alternate. In my view then a big stride forward and I really look forward to hearing them live.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 The Opener
2 Take Over The World
3 Cross My Heart & Hope To Fly
4 You Overdid It Doll
6 Good Times Are Calling
7 The Rest Of The World Has Gone Home
9 Cameo Brooch
10 Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips
11 Last Of The Ladies
12 Will It Be This Way Forever?