The Courtneys II more than worth the wait

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      The Courtneys
      The Courtneys II (Flying Nun)

      Making a sequel can be tricky, something the Courtneys know all too well.

      The trio’s chipper 2013 self-titled LP was Keanu Reeves–referencing indie pop that jumped the band from local squats to opening up for Tegan and Sara in theatres. The follow-up, fittingly titled The Courtneys II, has been four years in the making, with an earlier recording session having been abandoned.

      Despite this dragged-out incubation period, the sophomore collection doesn’t change the template too much. The Courtneys still pack a sugarcoated punch.

      The opener, “Silver Velvet”, finds guitarist Courtney Loove busting out her patented, fuzz-covered high notes while vocalist-drummer Jen Twynn Payne’s one-two wallop underscores personal pining (“Nothing you say, and nothing you do could stop me from thinking about you”). While still hummable, there’s a bit more relationship drama grafted onto The Courtneys II. “Country Song” refers to a long-distance situation more than the C&W charts.

      On “Frankie”, the record’s emotional zenith, Payne is driven mad by the gulf between her and the song’s namesake (“You came into my heart, I don’t want to be apart”). The minor-key piece closes with an uncertain, longing squeal of feedback. Though long overdue, The Courtneys II is an emotionally charged encore that was worth the wait.