Label: Lower Third
Released: 26th January 2024
On their incendiary debut album ‘Guitar Music’, Courting introduced themselves as one of the most creative and ambitious bands around. They also established a very important fact: Courting are utterly bonkers. This is a good thing, though; on their follow-up ‘New Last Name’, chaos again reigns supreme.
The four-piece from Liverpool have no shortage of confidence and belief in their creative abilities, and all this is shaped into their own distinct and idiosyncratic world, a world full of pop culture references, wild tangents and a sonic freedom to take their music in any direction their creative whims fancy. ‘New Last Name’ brings all this madness together, shaped by production from certified indie legends Ryan and Gary Jarman from The Cribs. This gives the record a cohesive backing to allow the band to indulge in all their wild flourishes. Most importantly, though, they have returned with more hooks than ever before – raucous fuzzy rockabilly on opening track “Throw’, breezy indie pop with an electro sheen on the shimmying ‘We Look Good Together (Big Words) and even a jazzy lounge ballad on ‘Babys’. Nothing is off-limits. What could feel scattergun and aimless, though, feels perfectly right and perfectly natural.
There are more straight-ahead moments here, like the riffy and buzzing indie rock of ‘Happy Endings’ where they are most explicitly channelling the spirit of the Jarman brothers, but while they possess the DNA of British indie of a previous era, Courting are a product of the boundless genre breaking pop age of 2024 where anything goes. Imagination and ambition are pop’s ultimate currency. One of their primary influences is pop auteur Charli XCX, and you could imagine this being some of the music Charli might make if she spent all her weekends down the Windmill. ‘New Last Name’ is the sound of the band proving that they can distil all the madness and experimentalism of their debut into something even more fulfilling and emotionally resonant with deeper lyricism, wittier asides, killer hooks and a questing desire to unquestionably be nothing but themselves. In the upside-down world of 2024, Courting are a band to be cherished.