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EP REVIEW: Courting - Grand National

Crass, Class

Courting - Grand National (2021 Nice Swan)

Liverpool post-punks Courting have finally released their much anticipated debut EP, and it is a sensational arrival. With Grand National, after what has seemed like an aeon of twitter teasing, Courting have landed with a demonstration of their startling creativity and enviable ability. And man, does it slap.

The title track kicks off this EP, bursting into a catchy and controlled chaos. Amongst the pounding drums and frantic guitar lines, we are also treated to a 100 gecs reference, straddling intensity and imagination in their approach to songwriting. Frontman Sean Murphy-O’Neill’s vocals ooze with swagger and confidence, making constant digs at the state of post-Brexit Britain, as well as the snide remarks over the UK’s obsession with horse racing.

Lead single ‘Popshop!’ boasts one of my favourite lines recent memory:

But if you stream Shape of You you're going straight to hell
And that's a promise.

and there's lots more like it, with a Belle Delphine dig also forcing a cackle from me. The beat on ‘Popshop!’ bounces along nicely, and the relationship between the guitars and bass are very nostalgic of the UK indie scene in the 2000s. Following, ‘Crass’ leads with a Slaves-style riff and a spoken word passage from Murphy-O’Neill. The entire track feels like a tense crescendo, growing more frantic as it progresses. The guitar work on here is reminiscent of ‘The Reason They Hate Me’ by Daughters - feeling atonal, scratchy and chaotic - all of our favourite things. Its sensational stuff.

Final track ‘Slow Burner’ is exactly what it says on the tin. Blending a menacing riff with a TR-808 inspired cowbell (it shouldn’t work but it does), ‘Slow Burner’ carefully chugs along while Murphy-O’Neill screams. The heavy saturation on his vocals juxtaposes nicely with the fairly clean tones of the guitars and the layers of percussion and atmosphere only seem to grow as the track moves on. It culminates in an absolute wall of sound, a stirring pot of post-punk-noise-rock goodness.

Grand National blends elements of post-punk, indie rock and noise rock, teeming with pop culture references and witty political comments. The outcome is four razor sharp tracks which leaves you wondering whether you should be dancing, fighting or burning down parliament. It's a testament to Courting's potential as much as it demonstrates their capacity as one of the UK's best post-punk noise-makers, and with Grand National the gauntlet has well and truly been thrown down.


- great -

courting: bandcamp / spotify / instagram


James Mellen is currently studying songwriting and production based near Bristol. Interests include silly effects pedals, Yorkshire tea and 100 gecs.

Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture website created and co-edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.

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