Here’s an interesting record, Courtney Barnett’s “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit.” The Austrailian singer/songwriter ravages her way through a grungy debut. Not since Kim Deal of the Breeders delivered such confident vocals as a frontwoman for a rock band has this kind of music sounded so good.
Barnett sings over crunchy riffs with her unique talk-sing vocal delivery and it works. Her lyrics harken back to Dylan’s thin wild mercury phase in the late 60s and her singing style sounds like Lou Reed growling out his most rocking tunes. The brilliant “Pedestrian at Best” is one of the better rock songs of the year. When she shouts “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you” something inside all of our self-doubting selves can relate. Her lackluster approach to the laid back inebriated haze of “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleeless in New York)” is dead on. It wanders like a dizzy kid that just got off the playground merry-go-round. On “Aqua Profunda!” she once again spits attitude as she passively sings “I much prefer swimming to jogging.” On the drawn-out 7-minute “Small Poppies” she reveals her inner sad eyed lady as she strums away on a few psychedelic riffs.
The album is going to be mentioned on lists of best albums of 2015 for sure. Barnett became a hot topic at SXSW this year and it has propelled her to the tongues of many interested in good music. This album is the start of something very good. It may even make you wonder if there is hope for the world of rock and roll after all.
Key Tracks: “Pedestrian At Best” “Aqua Profunda!” “An Illustration of Loneliness”