Label: Play It Again Sam
Released: 23rd September 2022
The first few notes of Courting’s debut album twinkle into life: glazed-over sounds, romantic strings, cinematic soundscapes. It’s still, a quiet moment to take a deep breath. Doesn’t sound like Courting, does it?
Of course, there’s no use falling into that trap. It barely lasts a minute before Courting return to doing what they do best – throwing everything you thought you knew and expected out of the window. Dark, glitchy drumbeats set ‘Twin Cities’ properly into motion this time, but in doing so they embark upon an album so rife with twists and turns you never can quite settle. It’s hard not to listen to ‘Guitar Music’ on the edge of your seat; god only knows what might come next. It’s the kind of thrill that many artists set out to capture, but few do so successfully. Courting, however, have mastered it.
From the bristling sarcasm of ‘Loaded’ to the heavy doses of hyper-pop magic on ‘Famous’, ‘Guitar Music’ is a rollercoaster you definitely will not want to get off. It’s a reinvention of self and sound for Courting, tearing apart the core of their music and presenting it anew, in all its distorted, elevated glory. ‘Jumper’ is genuinely endearing, marking a more optimistic moment for the band. Their witticisms are still rampant, of course, but it just adds to the Courting charm.
Courting are at their strongest when they are pushing the boat out, something which ‘Guitar Music’ revels in. ‘Uncanny Valley’ is an aching eight-minute profession of love for a CGI influencer which epitomises what Courting have done on this album. They capture spiralling emotions with startling sonic accuracy; as the vocals on the track become more fretful, the guitar line intensifies. It veers towards unbearably intense, but there are so many different manifestations of that on ‘Guitar Music’. So much so, it becomes the kind of feverish intensity that you wish you could hear on every debut.