THERE is a claim I have yet to get in recent popular music. The pop puzzle teasing the Kelly grey matter is how American band The Killers were greeted and feted as the natural successors to Manchester 90s marvels New Order.
Okay there are four members in the Las Vegas combo as there were in Manchester’s 80s and 90s straddling finest. But the occasional mix of electronica and fiery guitars do not an accurate comparison make.
A far more believable similarity would pitch Courteeners, they of the Middleton core of the North-West’s second best city – come on, no sweat Liverpool is the finest – as heirs to the dreamy yet high-energy adult rock purveyed by New Order.
Concrete Love is a near-monumental but far from grey offering. Liam James Fray (guitarist with the flattest northern vocals since Jarvis Cocker), Daniel ‘Conan’ Moores (guitar), Mark Joseph Cuppello (bass) and Michael Campbell (drums/percussion) provide a swirling splash of hues and hooks. Not quite as hypnotically garish as the artwork on a Stone Roses album, but enough to dazzle peepers.
This is an album of confidence and maturity drenched in more catchiness than to be found in a locksmith’s lock-up, so much that even I am ALMOST prepared to forgive them for being fans of a certain red-shirted team in the home of LS Lowry and Corrie.
Recovering from an unlikely opening track – a mesh of Robert Palmer funk and Sledgehammer-esque Peter Gabriel – Concrete Love sparks like a late freight train. Stirring tracks include the delicious Small Bones, a brilliant way of describing holding a lover about to disappear; Black & Blue, that fizzes like New Order at their most propulsive; Summer, which suggests an alliance between aforementioned Stone Roses and Haircut 100; and Dreamers, a call to arms for those who still want to make a difference. Claaassy.
• Courteeners play Sheffield O2 Academy, October 27; Hull University, November 9; Leeds O2 Academy, on November 11. Tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow at gigsandtours.com and at ticketmaster.co.uk, ring 0844 811 0051 and 0844 826 2826.