The Courtneys II is the unimaginatively titled second album from Canada’s fantastic Courtneys. Despite the dull title, the dreampunk trio of lead singer and drummer ‘Cute Courtney’ Jen Twynn Payne (not related to 1D’s Liam Payne. Actually related to Tegan and Sara), ‘Classic Courtney’ on guitar (actually called Courtney) and ‘Crazy Courtney’ on bass and vocals, are even stronger on their sophomore album. With dreamy, fuzzed up guitar lines and diary-like lyrics, their second release is a continuation of the ‘lo-fi charm’ of their first. The simplicity of their musical structure has allowed their sound to grow somehow to feel pop at the same time as seeming punk.
Take first single ‘Silver Velvet’, for example, its garage rock sound compliments bubblegummy pop lyrics like “nothing you say and nothing you do can stop me thinking about you”, which, I can confirm, stick in your head for days. But ‘Tour’ is probably the catchiest moment on the album, after its unsuspecting intro, the brilliant melodies creep in. Themes of open roads and just letting go sound freeing over their bouncy guitar riffs. Despite being by far the longest track on a ten track album, the near seven minute ‘Lost Boys’, doesn’t feel overbearing in the slightest. With its lyrics of an ageless “vampire teenage boyfriend” it’s much less Twilight than you’d think.
As a whole the record feels well developed and completely sure of itself and, while it may sound a little samey sometimes, it’s a solid, enjoyable and catchy set of songs that occupies a fuzzy territory between rock and pop.