THE COURTEENERS released third LP, ANNA, on this day in (4th Feb) 2013 and what a record it turned out to be. A development from sophomore album, Falcon, which saw the Manchester band veer off into a more mature and slick aesthetic as opposed to their rough and ready, gritty debut LP St Jude.
Opening with Are You In Love With a Notion?, Anna gave The Courteeners an anthem that would be track one on almost every setlist since 2013 – when those drums are heard you know that for the next 90 minutes, Liam Fray and co. are going to throw everything they have into a rip-roaring performance. Whether it be headlining Heaton Park, supporting The Stone Roses at Etihad, or playing an album launch in Arndale HMV; passion pours from the four-piece.
There are more emotionally charged classics on Anna, too – Van Der Graaff‘s line of: “I don’t need you in my life, but I want you tonight,” is something we can all relate to. As is Marquee‘s: “Next time you think you might not love someone, don’t you think it’s best to tell them earlier on?” The emotion rolls off Fray’s tongue – I have personally been to ten Courteeners gigs over the past four years (there are others who have tripled that figure) and I have only heard Marquee performed once. A rarity, but a beautiful one.
Away from the ballads, Anna is home to some of the most iconic Courteeners sounds. Welcome to the Rave and Here Come the Young Men are fan favourites that are appreciated massively time and time again. Usually listed towards the end, Here Come the Young Men was a highlight at the Heaton Park sell out in 2015. Coming just before Concrete Love’s Beautiful Head and the classic Not Nineteen Forever and What Took You So Long? it was a magnificent end to a superb show.
What I love most about Anna are the treasures and rarely performed hits like Sharks Are Circling and Save Rosemary in Time. On an album alongside hits which are effectively the core of The Courteeners’ setlist of recent years they do not get a look in. That speaks volumes about the amount of quality tracks in the Courteeners discography.
The Anna neon-light behind the band on-stage was there for many happy memories with The Courteeners. A masterpiece of a record.