Courting – Grand National EP Out Now On Nice Swan Records

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Here we go then. After a handful of promising early singles, Liverpool’s Courting have turned up to blow the cobwebs off 2021 with this, their first EP. Exploring life in classic Middle England and its five-bedroom homes and artificial lawns, it’s the exciting early sound of a band trying on different outfits to see what fits.

The title-track comes crashing in through the door of an after-party down the Nags Head, slips on some plates of half-eaten food, spills wine everywhere, makes a mess of your carpet, ruins your plants and then skitters out into the night. It’s pure chaotic energy like a dropped pint in a packed pub, and is gone before you even know it was here. The punchy 1-2 of that and ‘Popshop!’ is an exhilarating start, the sideways snark at those who think that making pop, and popular, music is anything but a good thing delivered perfectly.

It’s easy to make tired references to Parquet Courts and The Fall when bands like this come along, but this feels more exciting than that somehow. The stressful ‘Crass’, a more traditional talky-post-punk track, and the slow-burning ‘Slow Burner’ might exist in that territory, but it’s the pop culture references throughout the record that stop it from being yet another genre pastiche. It’s obvious from this that Courting have taken a year of forced inactivity and galloped with it, taking their time to explore where they want to go. Keep heading straight towards the chaos, please.

Source: DORK *****