Album Cover

EP Review: Courting- Grand National (Nice Swan Records)

Courting - Grand National - 12" – Rough Trade

Grand National is a four track EP from Courting, a fast and fun couple of tracks that withhold serious potential. As of 2020 (the time of which this recording was made), all the members in Courting were either 18 or 19, with front man Sean Murphy-O’Neill having not even finished college. Therefore, it is clear that these four scousers have serious talent and their future careers are seeping with promise. 

The EP opens with title track “Grand National”, a fun, fast paced track about horse racing and the Brits unhealthy romanticism of the sport, something Courting don’t quite agree with. This is shown through the witty remarks of Murphy-O’ Neill, with lines from the point of view of diehard grand national fans. “It’s not quite justified well, I don’t care if it dies, it’s entertainment, don’t call it cruel, define exploitation”. Remarks such as these are definitely one of the bands strongpoints, and certainly something that makes them stand out in the current emergence of UK indie rock bands, against the likes of Sports Team and Lounge Society to name a few. 

The EP then launches into “Popshop”, a quick 2 minutes, which contains some very entertaining criticisms of the current consumerism in the music industry, the best line being “if you stream shape of you, you’re going to hell, and that’s a promise”, delivered with slight eccentricity in the vocal stylings. Murphy-O’Neill provides his take on the track on the Nice Swan Record’s website, stating: “We’re also poking fun at bands writing the same song over and over again. And wishing that we could sell our bathwater like Belle Delphine.” The page also states that the band look to Indie dance/rock band LCD Soundsystem as one of their influences. The drums in Popshop provide the first instance of this beginning to creep through, with the fast, oversaturated drumming giving the track a bit of edge. As well as this, the LCD Soundsystem-esque stylings can be felt at the end of the last track “Slow Burner”, the most stylistically different track on the EP, with some great deep electronic synths that James Murphy would be proud of. 

The four lads of Courting supported Sports Team and Heavy Lungs, with influences from both trickling into the EP. The first two with the loud, boisterous summer anthems such as Grand National and Crass. Whereas on tracks like Slow Burner, the music has a heavier, louder feel, reminiscent of Heavy Lungs. What is great is that Courting have already proven a decent bit of range, without anything feeling too dissimilar in tone, the tracks gelling nicely together well, which is not a necessity for an EP, but it does make for nicer listening. Essentially, if you are a fan of any of the aforementioned bands, Grand National is well worth a listen. Although, not unlike anything you might have heard before, Courting still manages to provide 12 and a half minutes of wonderful riffs, humorous lyrics and overall some very entertaining indie rock. Listen to it for the potential if nothing else. Grand National comes out on April 9th so be sure to check it out. 

Grand National is released via Nice Swan Records on Friday April 9. Be sure to pre order a physical from any independent record shop fast, there are only 500 made!