Criticised by some last year – labelled ‘slacker music’ with Stephen Malkmus and Sheryl Crow influences – Courtney Barnett has had no shortage of comparisons and references thrown her way by the music press since the release of The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. ‘Slacker music’ or not she is an artist who really knows how to fill a room with a fabulous sound and this is much is evident from her debut album proper, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.
Beneath Barnett’s nasal Australian tones, raw guitar riffs and more delicate, reflective sounds combine to great effect. With a self-deprecating, underwhelming tone to her lyrics, the thrashing guitars really do add a great deal to this record, not just making it more enjoyable but also profiling the talent of a focused musician.
Recorded in the autumn of last year, Barnett has followed up her critically acclaimed The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas with a much more accessible album that cements her distinctive voice within the indie genre. An ambitious singer-songwriter with an ability to combine clever phrases and wry observations into wonderfully crafted lyrics, she will be rightly hailed for another deftly composed recording.
Much less Sheryl Crow and more Shea Seger, Barnett has a witty humour, providing commentary through her internal monologue. The only disappointing being that her the nasal sound of her vocals can detract from their impact.
With most tracks on this new recorded including a repetitive, rhythmic percussion and riffs, it is almost guaranteed that the listener will start head-bopping to the music. Beginning with ‘Elevator Operator’ – which mediates upon the subject of mental health – through to the melancholic ‘Boxing Day Blues’, each song offering sharp reflections upon pathos and introspection. Barnett’s vocals, downbeat lyrics and raw riffs do give this songstress a fantastically distinctive and trademark sound. Personal suffering seeps from new single ‘Pedestrian at Best’ and into ‘An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)’ where she struggles with her clinical surroundings as she ponders on her feelings about her partner across the ocean.
Providing vivid insights throughout these songs, Barnett’s lyrical talent is bordering on the literary, something for which she will clearly receive a great deal of approbation. And should this style continue on into Courtney Barnett’s next album, we are surely only going to see the further emergence of this most unique of Australian songstresses.
Released on 23rd March 2015 via Marathon Artists you can purchase Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit from here