Courtney Barnett has been creating buzz since her EP launch in 2013. Now, finally, her first album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, has arrived and oh man was it worth the wait.

Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

4 stars

Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Label: Marathon Artists

Since A Sea of Split Peas, her 2013 EP, all eyes have been fixed on Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, who stands apart from the acoustic-guitar-in-hand performers that may spring to mind. And thank God for that. In a male dominated industry it's about time that we had a young female with a bit of edge and a lot of talent taking the music critics and carrying singer-songwriting to a whole new level.

Vocally she has Sheryl Crow’s 1990s attitude, with an anti-folk delivery, think Jeffery Lewis or Kimya Dawson. It may be unfair to liken Courtney Barnett to Sheryl Crow, but it's hard to ignore when listening to the album's first single 'Pedestrian at Best', which whether intentional or not, seems to conjure Crow's 'Every Day is a Winding Road'. Lyrically, Barnett is in a league of her own. A force to be reckoned with. In her hands, the mundane becomes a witty stream of consciousness loaded with humour. Her occasionally self-deprecating lyrics are difficult to assimilate when coupled with her immense talent, but in general they add to her relatability—after all, isn’t the anxiety of the every day something that affects us all?

"Put me on a pedestal and I'll only disappoint you
Tell me I'm exceptional and I promise to exploit you
Give me all your money and I'll make some origami honey
I think you're a joke but I don't find you very funny"

Then again, delve a little deeper into the album and you find it isn't it isn't just her, there's a whole cast of characters, real or imagined, they are wonderfully well observed. In 'Depreston' and 'Kim's Caravan' we not only get a sense of the narrator's anxieties while she speaks directly to us, we also get a vivid impression of the scenes she is setting. 

The album is electrified and rockin’ from the off. She plays a clumsy guitar adding to the casual, slacker rock vibe of the album. Nowhere is Barnett's guitaring prowess more apparent than in 'Small Poppies', featuring riffs to make both current slacker poster boy Mac Demarco and kings of slack Pavement jealous. 

Much Like Mac Demarco, Courtney Barnett is taking the whole slacker rock/singer-songwriter thing to a whole new arena. Throw out your Oasis/Dylan sound-a-like singer-songwriters and get a hold of this candid, occasionally rocking, occasionally mellow, and always totally awesome record.

Should you get the opportunity to watch this girl live, grab it. An at first awkward but endearing entrance soon gives way to fireworks; an electric performance and a complete charmer. 

Key tracks: “Pedestrian At Best”, “Small Poppies”, “Depreston” 
Like this? You may also like: Waxahatchee, Jeffrey Lewis, The Breeders

 

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