In Review: COURTNEY BARNETT – SOMETIMES I SIT AND THINK, AND SOMETIMES I JUST SIT (MILK / REMOTE CONTROL RECORDS, 2015)

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Sometimes I Sit has set itself as a quintessential Australian album that has better communicated the easy lethargy and commonplace daily minutia more than any dolewave or aus-core album of the past decade.

To say this album has been highly anticipated is an understatement. Anyone following the trajectory of Courtney Barnett’s career over the past 12 months can easily see the build up to her debut full length. International tours, festival slots, blog praise and television appearances are all of the things that have built Courtney up to her current level of (deserved) success. At this point, Courtney is one of the most successful, young, Australian musicians not named Kevin Parker. Pitchfork praise aside, the true proof of Courtney’s success is the fact that her true-blue Australianism is connecting on such a wide level. Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit will no doubt be one of the most important records in Courtney Barnett’s career but also probably one of the most important Australian albums of all time.

Sometimes I Sit will be a sure-fire classic when it comes to Australian music – this much is certain. Even if Courtney hadn’t been championed by Pitchfork, her level of success wouldn’t be overly diminished. The praise undoubtedly helped but Courtney has worked very damn hard touring in the US and further abroad to let her notoriety and success be claimed by another party. While Courtney has always been charming in a disarmingly casual way, it is still remarkable that Courtney’s mannerisms and matter-of-fact approach to music has resonated so far and wide. Sometimes I Sit has set itself as a quintessential Australian album that has better communicated the easy lethargy and commonplace daily minutia more than any dolewave or aus-core album of the past decade.

Courtney has crafted an album that draws upon trends set by earlier work, detailing the basic facets of her life. These tales could be considered dry in any ordinary conversation but with wry wordplay (and a hefty splash of tongue-in-cheek humour) Courtney breathes life into these tales. ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party’ is a tale of indecision about a night’s events, while ‘Aqua Profunda’ talks of trying to impress someone at the local swimming pool and standout track ‘Depreston’ digs a little deeper into house hunting. These songs are buoyed by catchy musicianship and rhythm but with Courtney Barnett it is always the words that are in the fore. Sometimes I Sit also addresses issues of the inner-mind, self esteem (‘Small Poppies”), love (‘An Illustration of Loneliness’) and dissatisfaction (‘Elevator Operator’). Courtney also addresses issues larger than herself, taking on big business (‘Dead Fox’) and environmental issues (‘Kim’s Caravan’). All of these songs are enjoyable, but the well-roundedness of the album as a whole is the true highlight of this record.

I think the key reason that the world is stopping to listen to Courtney Barnett is because they have honestly never heard anything like it before. American or Australian, Courtney is an anomaly in song writing in the fact that she captures perfectly the thoughts that run through our heads – this is a rare gift for any musician to hold and it seems like Courtney Barnett has been born with it. There is no bullshit or pretension in any word, any note – and despite the strine-laden content of the work it is no surprise that the world is catching on. When it all clicks – music, words, feeling ­– there is no limit to how significant an album can become. My humble prediction is that we’ll be discussing the impact of Sometimes I Sit for a long while to come.

MILK RECORDS / REMOTE CONTROL RECORDS