Once upon a time when The Revue was in its infancy, a young woman entered our world. She was accompanied by her guitar, her trusty mates, and her sharp, lyrical tongue. In September 2013, we were swooned by “Avant Gardener” and even exchanged Twitter messages, discussing her tennis skills. Later that year, we were enchanted by The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, so much so that it was one of our favorite albums of 2013. Then earlier this year, we wanted to relive moments with her Live EP.
Since 2013, Courtney Barnett’s star has exploded, becoming the darling of indie music. And yet despite her new found fame and a team of publicists and managers, she remains as humble and affable as the very day we heard her music for the first time. On Tuesday, she returns with Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. It is, technically, her debut album since the last “full-length” was two EPs. So how does it compare to Split Peas? We give our First Impressions (although we’re a little short handed with Wendy spending late nights at SXSW).
Follow Courtney Barnett on her website, Facebook, and Twitter, and pre-order Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit on Milk! Records (AU/NZ), Mom + Pop Records (US/CAN), iTunes, and Amazon.
Courtney Barnett is one of my favorite, modern lyricists. I put her and Father John Misty side-by-side. They are both a bit ironic, clever, bittersweet, self-deprecating, and even a touch meta (yes, I think you can break the 4th wall in music). I absolutely adored her double EP and the great track “Avant Gardner” and its beautifully crafted lines like: “The paramedic thinks I’m clever cause I play guitar / I think she’s clever cause she stops people dying”. It was love at first listen for “Pedestrian at Best” with equally brilliant lines, “I must confess, I’ve made a mess of what should be a small success” and “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”. Courtney makes me laugh, cringe, and nod in approval all at the same time. The rest of Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit never lets up and adds a little edge to music with some fantastic guitar riffs throughout. A very very enthusiastic thumbs up for me.
I remember first writing about Courtney Barnett way back in September 2013 when we started this thing. Her debut album or double EP or whatever you want to call it was captivating for many reasons. It presented to the world a great songwriter and storyteller who took the mundane and made them into elaborate stories. She made the ordinary exciting. Musically, she was unpretentious, affable, and personable. Many of these same traits still apply on her new album. However, Sometimes is a rocking record, which isn’t surprising as with each show Barnett performed she amped up the guitar a little bit and showed off her Joan Jett. Bringing these two elements has resulted in a terrific effort that is highlighted by “Pedestrian At Best”, the exciting “Elevator Operator” (probably an adjective never used to describe an elevator operator), “Debbie Downer”, and the gorgeous “Depreston”, which might be Barnett’s most mature songwriting effort to date. There isn’t a dull moment nor misstep. Despite its title, Sometimes won’t have you sitting or thinking, but it’ll have you dancing, rocking, and enjoying every minute. It might not make you want to play a game tennis, though.
The title of this album sets a wry, deadpan mood, and the songs fit perfectly. Barnett begins the album at a near-rap, shrugging her way through two songs, “Elevator Operator” and “Pedestrian at Best”, with an audible eye-roll. I was hooked by the skillful, un-pretty songwriting on these tunes and by the time I got to the beautiful, swaying “Depreston”, I was solidly in Courtney’s world. Simple chords, honest lyrics and excellent, brawny electric guitar make this album a thumbs up!
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