Courtney Barnett
The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas


4.5
superb

Review

by Matthew Hung USER (10 Reviews)
July 24th, 2014 | 5 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A pleasant float down the lazy Courtney River

Hunter S. Thompson wrote the following to his friend seeking life advice:

"Whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect- between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming."

According to Thompson, while most people miss this distinction, Courtney Barnett certainly does not. While many understandably describe her music to be "slacker", I think that's slightly off the mark. While there aren't any overt thematic elements in lyrical content or tone/tempo song to song, I think there's a broader connection between them all. Her music, to me at least, is a characterization of the aforementioned floating life philosophy. Every song, captured through Courtney's eyes and bearing her distinctive carefree charm, sucks you into her world. Therein lies the beauty of it all, because whether you can personally relate or not, you can't help but feel that you're floating along with her.

Technically speaking, she doesn't do anything particularly unique on this album. Her voice is not notably distinctive, powerful or good for that matter. The instrumentation, while interesting at times, is not going to wow anyone. I will say she is strongest lyrically, as her wit and descriptive ability are solid if not spectacular. But it's how everything comes together to create that distinctly Courtney Barnett sensibility to it that is unique and easy to enjoy. As mentioned, this doesn't imply a sameness; while many tend to be a touch downtempo, there aren't any steadfast rules this album abides by. I appreciate how the songs attempt to create a varied atmosphere and encompass many different topics and sounds. The more energetic moments like "History Eraser" and "David" are certainly refreshing but I think the true strength lies in the more subdued tracks. My favorite track on the album, "Anonymous Club" showcases all the things that make this album great. From the ethereal beauty of her average voice, the minimal but effective sonic backdrop and lines that echoed in my head for weeks; to me, this song puts the proverbial Courtney glasses on you from the first word to the last and gives me a tingly feeling every time I hear it.

All of this lends itself to create a charming and comprehensive portrait of how she sees and feels the world around her. Whether it's internally debating a more structured, normalized lifestyle versus her carefree floating on "Are You Looking After Yourself" or her account of an asthma attack in her garden on "History Eraser", I imagine every word crooned and chord carelessly strummed to be a perfect embodiment of what it means to be Courtney: cool, witty and floating, not swimming, in the great ocean of life.



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Douglas
July 29th 2014


9218 Comments


Nice review, this is an ace bit of music that needs lots of love.

dimsim3478
September 20th 2014


5933 Comments


guess who's the coolest musician in australia right now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfaYJcRO2jQ

Digging: Lost Salt Blood Purges - The Voids We All Long For

AmericanFlagAsh
March 14th 2015


2152 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't wait for the new album

Digging: Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, and I Sometimes I Just Sit

HBFS
March 20th 2015


1315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it rules.

Digging: Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, and I Sometimes I Just Sit

Clumseee
March 20th 2015


246 Comments


The sister of Bobby Barnett (Captain, We're Sinking) and Greg Barnett (The Menzingers).

Cool.



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