Courtney Barnett's double-EP collection 'A Sea of Split Peas' heralded the arrival of a remarkable storyteller with a wild imagination.
Delightfully DIY, the smeared guitars coupled with the Australian's sing-talk delivery meant that the whole thing felt ready to fall apart at any moment. But Courtney has a way with words and the best songs on that album – 'Avant Gardener' and 'History Eraser' – transmuted the mundane details of life into hilariously bittersweet narratives.
The singer has admitted that she has to keep her mind busy, and consequently 'Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit' overflows with whip-smart observations. 'Pedestrian At Best', which chases a beefier, sharper sound, sees Barnett howling in quick-fire, kitchen-sink mode, while in 'Depreston' she remembers a house hunting incident in a depressing area of town.
'Elevator Operator' details a bored worker who climbs to the roof of a building to escape his tedious daily routine and, gazing upon the empire below, the Australian talent humourously observes: "I like to imagine I'm playing Sim City".
With her thoughts spilling out everywhere, Barnett's brain is clearly working overtime but her resigned drawl hints that she's forever on the brink of leaving it all behind to do nothing. 'Depreston' is set to the strum of drifting, barely-there guitars, while 'Dead Fox', and 'Aqua Profunda!' both recall the more pared down moments of fellow DIY spirits Parquet Courts and Speedy Ortiz.
'Small Poppies' though, impresses with its sprawling, seven-minute length leading to a slow-building, languid slouch. Half of the time Barnett, sounds like she isn't even trying, shrugging out moments of brilliance with ease and nonchalance. Whether she sits and thinks or sits and does nothing, it would appear the results are still golden.
Words: Dannii Leivers
– – –
– – –