March 23rd 2015 will see the much-anticipated release of the debut LP proper from Courtney Barnett, “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit”. Recorded in the autumn of 2014 in an intense ten day session at Head Gap Studios in Melbourne, the album finally brings Barnett’s incisive vision into stark, unflinching focus; her wit sharpened to a knife edge, her melodies more infectious and addictive than ever.
Following-up 2013’s critically-lauded “The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas” (which, as the title suggests, collected her first two self-released EPs to beguiling effect), “Sometimes I Sit And Think…” cements Barnett’s standing as one of the most distinctive voices in indie rock, mixing witty, often hilarious observations with devastating self-assessment over a beguiling collection of songs that reveals her as an ambitious songwriter with an ear for clever turns of phrase and an eye for story-song details that are literate without being pretentious. Depressing rentals and dead foxes, go-nowhere relationships and dead end suburbs, even her own fears, doubts and insecurities – nothing escapes Barnett’s caustic sense of humour.
So on furious first single, “Pedestrian At Best”, Barnett turns the microscope’s glare on herself, as she lets loose an internal monologue crammed with twisting rhymes, inside jokes and self-deprecation while she muses on the fleeting nature of fame and what may or may not come after (“I must confess I’ve made a mess of what should be a small success, but I digress. At least I tried my very best… I guess”).
“Pedestrian At Best” also comes accompanied by a brilliant video by Charlie Ford, conceptualised by Barnett herself, in which she plays a depressed and incompetent clown, wandering around a carnival on her own.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR NEW SINGLE “PEDESTRIAN AT BEST” BELOW;
Meanwhile, on “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” she takes in her mundane surroundings in an apartment in NYC as she misses her partner across the ocean, and walking through a deceased estate in “Depreston”, Barnett is alarmed by the furnishings left by the previous owner: “I see the hand-rail in the shower, a collection of those canisters for coffee, tea, and flour, and a photo of a young man in a van in Vietnam.”
In just a handful of lines, she sketches out a full life – it’s difficult to think of any other modern songwriter evoking whole worlds with such novelistic attention and scope, and soundtracking it with the crunch of guitars and loose groove of her three-man rhythm section. Elsewhere, Barnett turns her gaze outwards, with the languid, sprawling epic “Kim’s Caravan” detailing environmental destruction, and “Dead Fox” scathing in its takedown of genetically engineered food, major retailers and the fast food industry.
If “The Double EP” announced the arrival of a major new talent, ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’ consolidates that promise and marks Courtney Barnett as one of the best and most unique voices around, period.
‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’ – album tracklisting;
• Elevator Operator
• Pedestrian At Best
• An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)
• Small Poppies
• Aqua Profunda!
• Dead Fox
• Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party
• Debbie Downer
• Kim’s Caravan
• Boxing Day Blues
NEW UK LIVE DATES;
27 Brighton, Concorde 2
28 Bristol, The Fleece
29 Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
30 Sheffield, Leadmill
31 Newcastle, Newcastle University
02 Glasgow, Art School
03 Manchester, Gorilla
04 Dublin, Whelans
05 Nottingham, Bodega
07 Cambridge, Junction 2
08 Norwich, Waterfront
09 London, Electric Ballroom