"We're the best band on the planet right now."
The first time I listened to Anna, this brazen grasping for stadium-rock acceptance actually made me laugh out loud. The wooh-wooh-ing intro to album opener ‘Are You In Love With A Notion’, the over-reaching Kings Of Leon-isms of ‘Van Der Graaff’, the insipid glam stomp of ‘Push Yourself’ and, worst of all, the diversion into Passion Pit-esque epic synths on ‘Welcome To The Rave’ all conspired to make Anna come across as a perfectly executed parody of a band desperate to be taken seriously as an arena rock band.
The more I listened to Anna, though, it gradually dawned on me that I was missing the point (as usual!) by thinking too much. This is an album designed first and foremost to be fun and entertaining – an innocent form of skyscraping indie-rock made with escapism and crowd-participation in mind.
After that realisation, Anna becomes a colourful, engaging and enjoyably diverting experience. ‘Are You In Love With A Notion’ is transformed into a brilliant sing-along album opener. Lead single ‘Lose Yourself’ is a rollicking rock and roll stomp and ‘Van Der Graaff’ shines as an addictive riff-heavy future single. Even the stupidly named ‘Save Rosemary In Time’ becomes an innocent bit of fun, rather than the uninspired rock-by-numbers it initially seemed to be.
Of course, the album is helped not only by Liam Fray’s undoubted charisma (only he could get away with the ‘tut tut finger wag’ line on ‘Sharks Are Circling’), but also his uncanny ability to write instantly memorable and classic choruses. Anna is littered with massive choruses that will have you singing along almost immediately. (...)
Fans of The Courteeners will undoubtedly herald Anna as their strongest and most consistent album yet. If, like me, you’ve been more of a casual follower of them, approach Anna as nothing more than a simple and innocent bit of foot-tapping, sing-along fun and you won’t be disappointed.