Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit Review

Melbourne based Courtney Barnett has been knocking out extended plays and singles for a couple of years now to a very positive reception. It’s only a bit of loose, rambling indie rock, but whilst the music isn’t electrifying she usually is. She’s always on point with her vocals and witty, narrative, and observational lyrics that fit snuggly into clever song structures that make the music more fresh and engaging. The test is whether she can deliver this with the a brand new set of songs that make up her debut LP Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit for which she says “follow me as a normal human with normal emotions.” Sure it’s not an oversell, but like Courtney herself, the album looks to be loudly understated.

‘Pedestrian at Best’ features that slack and grinding rhythm section and heavy percussion that has tearing lead riffs slicing their way across the track’s mainstay instrumentals. Through this is Barnett’s megaphone-like vocal that shouts out her meandering and wondering lyrics that are packed into each guitar part. It’s angsty and angry with a witty and comic tinge. Alongside that it’s catchy and engaging. She hasn’t let herself follow the indie crowd with her style, even if it’s musically nothing new. She’s forced the track to go in her direction regardless of the style she’s pursued and it makes it sound fresh and individualistic. ‘Depreston’ is the opposite of the previous single and is more gentle with it’s echoed, lapping riffs and brushed percussion. This is combined with Barnett’s closer, intimate vocals that add a greater warmth to the track as well as giving a different emotional connection with the lyrics in what is a more narrative track. It adds that most basic depth and scale to the feel of the album too which is never a bad thing.

‘Elevator Operator’ has more of a 60’s jive about it with it’s snappy percussion, handclaps and bursting organ chords that intercept them. This infectiously catchy track is strung together with a light riff with the percussion taking the lead in effect. There’s also some a clever propulsion from verse to chorus with a instant hook attached to it. Again her storytelling ability doesn’t get in the way of the appealing and easy music and in many cases the musical simplicity allows for focus upon that and opens the door for some rapid and reworked song structures. This is the key to the album ‘An Illustration of Loneliness’ offers up a different musical approach with more fuzzy, vibrating guitars and a rumbling bass line from which her lazed, wistful vocals drift in-between. These tracks are the four cornerstones of the album’s sound and there isn’t a dull moment to be found throughout the entire album for it is full of vibrancy and energy but it’s not delivered in the predictable fashion many have come to expect from upcoming artists, even in those 90’s leaning tracks in the album. A more than solid debut.

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit = 8/10

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