The Courtneys recently became the first non-New Zealand act to sign to Flying Nun Records, a not-insignificant feat considering the 35-year-old label's incredible history. The Vancouver trio shares the ramshackle pop aesthetic of Flying Nun alums such as The Clean and The Chills, and nails simultaneously glum and bubblegum hooks with grinning purpose. The Courtneys II is the band's first album in four years, and it more than lives up to the reputation of its new label home.
With its driving bass, nearly motorik drum beat and jangly punk chords, "Tour" is the kind of pop song that belongs in a karaoke bar — or at least the kind of pop song you softly sing along to while waiting for the bus. "What you are and what you want to be / It takes a long, long, long, long time," drummer Jen Twynn Payne sings with clear-eyed assuredness that comes paired with a hint of exhaustion. But The Courtneys' members are quick to counter real talk with reckless, oh-so-catchy abandon, as they urge listeners to "slack off and hit the open road."
The Courtneys II comes out Feb. 17 on Flying Nun.