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Courtesans, The: Better Safe Than Sober

A young band who can raise enough interest through fan funding to finance their music has to be applauded, the chance to catch imaginations and wallets something many fledgling acts struggle to achieve. So, that London's The Courtesans have followed up their debut album with the fan backed Better Safe Than Sober EP is a strong indication of the ground up manner in which they are building. Four young ladies who've come together with a refusal to dumb down their femininity to succeed in the music business, this band are also trying to do something different with their sounds. Doom-pop would be a good description as "Mesmerise" slips out of the speakers with a subtle intent, vocalist Sinead a whisper threat of attitude as the crescendo builds from the moment the song begins. It's an impressive start, but one undone by "Feel The Same", a spoken/rapped vocal conveyed with real passion and power, but even that and a lithely Garbage like chorus isn't enough to save things. It may be a cultural disconnect, but this obviously emotion drenched song simply refuses to let someone with zero affinity to this vocal style, understand its way of thinking.

From there "John Doe" reels in the atmospheric surge of the opener and adds an enigmatically cinematic scope, before "Knowhere" attempts to seduce, although the bump-clank breakdown feels at odds with what had been a shimmering soundscape up to that point. Whereas "The Tide" introduces faintly electronic beats under another whisper vocal that possibly plays the keep it small and then hit 'em hard card just once too often.

There's a lot of love out there for The Courtesans, so there's no denying that other opinions are available. However for someone who struggles with a lot of the stylistic choices on this EP, I have to admit it's a mixed bag. One track is excellent, another is a fight for me to get through, while the rest is phenomenal in places and lumpen in others. My jury is still out, but for The Courtesans it's still early days...

Track Listing
1. Mesmerise
2. Feel The Same
3. John Doe
4. Knowhere
5. The Tide

Added: March 10th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Courtesans online
Hits: 1308
Language: english

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