When it comes to modern Indie Rock and Surf Rock, the general consensus is that if it is not done correctly, it can grow old very fast. Thankfully, Canadian trio The Courtneys have yet to figure out how to make a bad song. Even by barely changing their sound over the course of two albums, it’s still a lot better than many more high profile bands of their genre. Their throwback, happy-go-lucky vibes may lack in depth, but make up it in enthusiasm and tight riffs.
In typical Slacker Rock style, the band wear their influences on their sleeve, much like on their debut album. Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine and Modest Mouse are all echoed throughout The Courtney’s sophomore record, whilst also fitting in nicely with contemporaries such as Amber Arcades and Diiv. The pounding drum beats, thick bass lines and guitar riffs don’t really differentiate much from The Courtney’s debut, which makes the title to this record even more fitting. The Courtneys II is an obvious sequel to its predecessor; it’s another chance to show what the band can do both lyrically and musically.
Much like their influences, the lyrics on this record feel very throwback, filled with nostalgic references. Take the song ‘Lost Boys’, for example, which is literally a song about the River Phoenix film of the same name, and ‘Mars Attacks’ also sees ties to the film industry. Then there are songs such as ‘Tour’, which stray into Weezer territory, lamenting travels across the States and those long, hot summers. To say that the entirety of the lyrics are built on nostalgia would be false, but The Courtneys enjoy the throwback aesthetic, and it fits in well with their influences.
For all the fun this record holds though, with consistently groovy riffs, it doesn’t really give us more than that. Not that’s that necessarily a bad thing; while this record doesn’t always require the full attention of the listener, and sticks to a formula it’s already well versed in, the songs are all enjoyable, well written and pretty catchy as well. The Courtneys know how to give off good slacker rock vibes, and that’s exactly what they do here.
While not exactly a game changing record, The Courtneys II is a prime example of what can be achieved through simplicity, whimsy and damn fine song writing. Recommended for anyone who enjoys Power Pop riffs and good fun.