“Courting transform observations from our bizarre reality into vivid storytelling and ambitious song structure, all in an effort to push pop further into the future.” – Pitchfork
“Keep heading straight towards the chaos, please.” – Dork ★★★★★
“One of the most rewarding debut albums of the year” NME – 4/5
“Set to be the next big thing.” – DIY
Today, Liverpool four-piece Courting return with details of their highly anticipated new album “New Last Name”, which will be released on 26th January 2024 via Lower Third. To mark the announcement the band have also shared a video for a new single titled “Throw” and have announced an extensive run of EU / UK headline tour dates for February, April, and May 2024 – tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday 10th November.
Having already laid-waste to any preconceptions you had about them on last year’s debut album “Guitar Music” – which saw the band earn 5-star reviews, a 7.2 from Pitchfork, and extensive plaudits from the likes of The Needle Drop, DIY, Dork, NME, Alt Press, CLASH, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Radio 1, and Radio X – the new record once again subverts the idea of genre and paints a much bigger picture.
When recording “New Last Name” Courting also collaborated in the studio with indie heroes Gary and Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, who worked closely with the band on production duties. The results are as thrilling as they are rewarding. Brimming with nuance and pop culture references, the only constant is that the Liverpool group maintain their irrepressible sense of abandon.
Whilst “Flex” provided a first taste of the band’s continued ambition, “Throw” sets the tone for the record. “New Last Name” is an album as adventurous thematically as it is sonically – but as it’s title suggests, it hints at new beginnings. “It’s a theatrical play within an album,” explains frontman Sean Murphy O’Neill. “. “There’s a lot going on. It can be simply enjoyed as an album, but there are characters, acts, stage directions etc. The listeners can decide on the narrative themselves, but we want them to get lost in it.”
“Throw” is the first act in this play and serves as a tone setter for the record and also a prelude to a narrative flashback. At its base level, the track is fervent pop-rock earworm melding upbeat drumming, vocoder-effected vocal hooks, and ebullient riffing. However, as the track moves towards it’s close, the band flip it on its head with pop-punk indebted instrumentation and gang vocals – a clear example of the band indulging in guilty pleasures.
Going on to speak about the single, Murphy O’Neill says, “We wanted to write a song with a plot twist, a song that could be described as “an epic.”
Lamenting a past love, our protagonist returns to “the city”, and remembers, misremembers, and forgets just about everything that has happened beforehand. Drawing a blank, they pray to be wished away to a simpler time.”
From the funk-pop guitars in “We Look Good Together” through to the baroque strings in “Flex” or even the country-tinged stylings of “Babys”, it would be an understatement to call “New Last Name” adventurous. That’s all before you even come onto the drum and bass drumming of the vibrant and vital “Happy Endings”.
Going on to speak about the album, Murphy O’Neill says, “I’ll admit that New Last Name isn’t really a play. Whilst it IS tied together by a narrative thread – it’s actually a collection of our most contained pop songs, and strangest experiments sat side by side.
New Last Name is unrestrained and chaotic. At the same time, it is more focused and detail-oriented than anything we’ve done before. New Last Name is a study in contradictions, and it’s the best damn play south of the north pole.”
That play goes on the road next year, with the band also having announced a new run of EU / UK tour dates to take place in Spring next year. Having cemented themselves as a must-see live act, Courting recently toured as main support for Circa Waves. The band also toured “Guitar Music” extensively last Autumn as well as performing at multiple summer festivals including Reading & Leeds Festival, Wide Eyed Festival, Latitude, Truck Festival, Live At Leeds, Community Festival, and The Great Escape. They also came together earlier this year for “The Wedding” – a hometown wedding-themed show which saw the band unveil new material for the first time – which NME reviewed, describing them as “one of the most innovative and elevated acts of the moment.”