Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
The Australian singer-songwriter’s raw double-EP A Sea Of Split-Peas may have made ripples on the new music pond, but her debut album has dropped a rock in it. Well produced, and packed full of character and grungy comedy, Courtney Barnett has everything in place to secure 'most likely to' plaudits for the rest of 2015.
Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit is like sneaking a look at the Melbourne-based artist’s thought-bubble. At face value, it’s a mid-20s mind chatting with less open hearts about an “existential time crisis”; the accent is exotic, and the stories of faraway beaches and sunshine taunt those currently enduring an extended northern-hemisphere winter, but the emotions are universal. She uses everyday imagery - elevators, percolators, cutting grass and going swimming - touchable, instantly relatable things.
‘Elevator Operator’, who greets a ”homeless man sitting by the corner of a metro bus stand” and shares a moment with a “lady in heels’, ends in envy and a cry for help. Counteracting it immediately, the angry and ironic single ‘Pedestrian At Best’ pairs an in-your-face riff with a dialogue between Barnett and the listener which flows through the album, meandering to a declared disregard for money, materials and most of all, ‘pedestal’ status.
Weaving in and out of the vocals, ‘The Barnettes’ instruments blend the album, shining in ‘Small Poppies’ but always allowing the lyrics’ bare accounts to pull the listener in, so the ‘handrail’ and ‘photograph’ in ‘Depreston’ and moral dilemma of ‘Dead Fox’ linger long after listening, perpetuated by disparate chords, stray notes and jumpy 90’s indie-riffs.
Any album that broods upon chemicals on fruit or the world running out of salad sandwiches, bears investigation. With Sometimes I Sit ... Barnett has blossomed into a singular talent, articulating what it means to be young and restless in 2015. The surprise may be just how universal she can make that feel.