Manchester rock'n'rollers The Courteeners seem to have garnered more media attention for their outspoken attitudes than for their music. But with the arrival of their contentiously titled debut album (St. Jude being the patron saint of lost causes) the hour of judgement is nigh for their supercilious yet tuneful brand of indie rock.
The Smiths are an obvious influence here, most notably around the middle of the album - the soft plucked electric guitars and lumbering vocals on Please Don't and secondary riff on If It Wasn't for Me. Of course, the fact that frontman and songwriter Liam Fray refers to himself as 'A Morrissey with some strings' on What took you so long? provokes an immediate retraction of any comparison between the two, if only to deny him the satisfaction.
Though the combination of banality and randomness in Fray's lyrics may be an attempt to emulate his idol, it is more likely to amuse or irritate as he unsophisticatedly reviles false people and 'scenesters' from a scene The Courteeners are clearly a part of. It's a small mercy that Fray's vocals are intermittently indecipherable.
There are promising openings throughout the album, based primarily on strong rhythmic guitar and occasionally piano or organ, but they are left undeveloped, becoming repetitive and inevitably going nowhere. Kings of the New Road stands out as an exercise in edgier rock with a stomping bass line and piercing lead guitar. On the whole though, a bland album, instantly forgettable.