Tuesday 30 June 2015

Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Personally, 2015 so far has been a bit of a sh*tter.
Musically, there has been plenty of fine sounds attacking my lugholes.

And this release is another to add to the "(Potential) Year End Top 10"*

* or whatever number I happen to think of

The debut album release from Australian Singer/Songwriter is a bright sound punctured with humourous, deadpan lyrics, bolted to a folk-ish, indie sound.  The music veers into Garage-Punk, and stabs of The Doors and The Stranglers along the way.  Her voice is reminiscent of Sheryl Crow, and the final track, the plaintive "Boxing Day Blues" featuring just an acoustic guitar and voices, evokes Suzanne Vega.  So, that's pretty much all bases covered then?

There is wit and humour in the lyrics and all delivered in an open narrative, often deadpan, style.  The choice of words and the detail used provide vivid imagery of the storyline of the songs, and there is often a turn of phrase which grabs attention.  Considering the lyrical construction as a whole, when she sings "I'm thinking of you too" in "An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)", you can't help but wonder is she actually singing "I'm Thinking of U2"?

Recorded in a two week period, where the songs were presented to the band only when they were finished, there is a freshness about the songs and the performances.
There are a variety of styles over the 11 tracks - indeed, if one track's style setting is not to your taste hang on, there will be something different along in a minute.

"Elevator Operator" has a touch of early Sheryl Crow, "Pedestrian at Best" is a fuzzed Garage Punk.  There is Indie Rock balladry on "An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)", and a full on near 7 minutes Blues Jam on "Small Poppies".
Thats 5 tracks and 5 different styles already.
And it don't stop there. From the naval gazing mundanity of "Depreston" to more Psych/Garage on "Aqua Profunda!".
The track "Dead Fox" has been doing the rounds of 6Music for a couple of weeks, and I find it difficult to get bored of it.  Bright, shiny, jangly pop - just right for the beginnings of Summer at the moment.  More indie/Garage on "Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to the Party", and a sort of Blondie/Stooges mash-up on "Debbie Downer".
"Kim's Caravan" comes along and seems out of place somehow - it is dark, almost haunting and bleak.  But it is an epic song and sequencing towards the end is the right place.
The album closes on the sparse (vocal and acoustic guitar) "Boxing Day Blues".

Debbie Downer

Dead Fox

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