Under Review

The Courtneys

The Courtneys   (Hockey Dad Records)

Review by Justin White

The Courtneys meet Sonic Youth and the Go-Go’s halfway, which sounds a lot more questionable than it is.

  Allow me to explain: They have the pop sensibilities and driving, steady drumbeats of the Go-Go’s, while using those strange, dark chords I don’t understand that Sonic Youth are known for.

  The difference between the Courtneys and most of the bands that use those sorts of chords and hang out at places like the Zoo Zhop is that the Courtneys’ three-piece arrangements are clean and well-thought-out. Every guitar note makes sense and can be heard clearly, and the basslines in particular are incredible.

  It wouldn’t be unfair to say that some of the vocal lines can be a little monotonous in parts of some of the songs, but in these parts, the amount of melody coming out of the guitars more than makes up for it. When the melodic parts come back to the singer (who happens to be the drummer), the effect is one of taking turns shining rather than competing.

  The hooks are always there, particularly on standout tracks like “90210,” but they weave and flow from instrument to instrument to voice and back again.