By Courtney Barnett
Hailing from the land down under, Courtney Barnett is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Melbourne. Renowned for her witty, rambling lyrics and deadpan singing style, Courtney attracted attention from the North American and UK music press in October 2013 with the release of 2 EPs and well-received performances at the CMJ Music Marathon. Barnett's debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, was released on 23 March 2015.
Barnett's debut descends from 1990s grunge and spirited from '60s garage and psychedelia. Reflective of the album title, without her words, the music would sit there; without the music, Barnett would drift away. The album is split between moments where she doesn't sing, but talks, sliding into melody mid-line as though she just remembered she was playing music.
Barnett puts her own apathy and insecurities front and centre, something I find to be refreshing and appealing. She seems vulnerable and down to earth throughout. Some of the album's most outstanding moments are the most reflective ones, particularly the heart-wrenching "Depreston," a pretty folk-pop mumbler. Barnett sings about driving out to the suburbs to look at a house in her price range; the place seems great, but darker details start to crowd her mind. It is clear throughout the album that in time to come, wherever Barnett ends up, we're going to want to go with her. She's a talent we'll be following for decades.
It is easy to compare Barnett with Kurt Cobain, as they both share the exceptional ability to find artistic strength in her personal weaknesses. Kurt sang "I Hate Myself and I Wanna Die" and sounded like a witty hipster doing so; Courtney sings, "I used to hate myself but now I think I'm all right" on "Small Poppies" and manages to sound even funnier.
As tattered and anxious with peril as Courtney's songs are, you'd never know it from her band's performances, whether bowling through the organ-led garage rock of "Debbie Downer" or stretching out on the stand our track "Kim's Caravan".
Reaching the end of the Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit I'm convinced this will be the soundtrack to my summer. The laid back and fuzzy tones echoing out this triumphant debut take us on a journey we won't want to end! Take this trip with Courtney Barnett and see where you end up.