[sic] Magazine

Courtesy – HEY

Hey! Chicago weirdos Courtesy are back with their third album and it wants your attention. The follow-up to 2015’s Slow Bruise, a top-drawer tape more than deserving of wider recognition and which sat somewhere between the Embryonic psyche-pop of The Flaming Lips and the shadow-world sounds of Liars, HEY is more of the same whilst also heading off in a more consciously electronic fashion. That’s not to say it’s aimed at the dancefloor though, or at least not the conventional dancefloor, because the result is more in line with oddball, remix-style house-not-house groovers as are often found on the DFA label.

Now a threesome with the addition of Doug Malone to the line-up, HEY is “inspired by plastics, young body builders as a metaphor for pop personas, the warm feeling of Andre Agassi’s pastel/neon Nikes and Ronald McDonald now wanting to go by “Ron””, but that’s all just meta-data as it’s the album’s music that remains most interesting. Digging deep for unusual FX to dress regular drum machine beats, the title-track consequently pits an industrial metronome against micro percussion, the thing slowly getting bigger until it drops into some kind of otherworldly kraut-pop. Stuttering, scanning – almost seasick – synth rhythms elsewhere rub up against squelchy oscillations and when creepy, mournful vocals are added to the mix, such as on “Earthworm”, Courtesy veer dangerously close to having genuine hits on their hands, dialling out to ambience and drones just as quickly to avoid the repercussions.

HEY is far from an oppressive listen though, its closing exchanges really quite summery, “Koto” a collection of dreamy beats and smooth horns and “Process” in turn woozy, warped electro with a wispy vocal drifting on down the river. Yes, in the three years since Slow Bruise, it seems Courtesy have become quite adept at modern production and listening to them bend it to their will throughout this varied running order is a fascinating exercise.

~Hey is released May 4th 2018 via Moon Glyph.~