Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Album Review by Will Fitzpatrick | 04 Mar 2015
  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Album title: Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Artist: Courtney Barnett
Label: Milk! Records
Release date: 23 Mar

She’s a smart one, Courtney Barnett. Like all the best observational lyricists, she can summon – or at least suggest – profundity in the most banal of subject matter, whether house-hunting in grim satellite towns (Depreston) or simply falling in love with a stranger at the swimming baths (Aqua Profunda!).

Elevator Operator finds its existentially-bored hero forced into explaining himself as he heads to the top of a building: “I’m not suicidal, just idling insignificantly / I come up here for perception and clarity / I like to imagine I’m playing Sim City.” It’s as touching as it is playful; the work of an artist captivated by the possibilities of the palette.

Still, all this detailed wordsmithery would mean little if Barnett didn’t have the tunes to back it up, and this debut album is full to the brim with irresistible shuffles and subtle left turns. Her first two EPs drew comparisons to Stephen Malkmus and Jeffrey Lewis, but the execution is pure Lou Reed, especially in her deadpan speak-sing delivery and effortless capacity for psych-soaked, glorious choruses. Bathe in the internal rhymes and scattered themes of the ironically-titled Pedestrian At Best, and let yourself be dazzled by such casual brilliance. This one’s a keeper. 

Playing Brudenell Social Club, Leeds on 29 Mar; The Art School, Glasgow on 2 Apr and Gorilla, Manchester on 3 Apr http://courtneybarnett.com.au