Courtney Barnett is the new Ozy Sheila on the alt-rock block and instantly she’s the best we’ve heard in one hell of a long while. Completely unassuming, she’s managed to slip silently under the mainstream sonar, but if the video for Avant Gardener (check it out below), one of the album’s best tracks, is anything to go by the band’s got what it takes to be a pretty big deal, combining elements of 60s garage band class, psych and folk.
Vocally, Barnett ranges from the clean beauty of Zooey Deschanel on opening tracks Out of the Woodwork and Don’t Apply Compression Gently, to the psychedelically tripped tones of Grace Slick on Anonymous Club and Canned Tomatoes (Whole), with a little Australian accent thrown in for good measure. Both Out of the Woodwork and Don’t Apply Compression Gently have got a downcast view with folk guitar backdrops, hints of psych organ and electric guitar, piano keys and a grey mood.
Avant Gardener could happily be stuck on loop, blurring the long standing divide between the brilliant pleasantry of Divine Comedy and the garage band sheen of The Velvet Underground. There’s some awesome slide guitar, feedback and a rambling description of mundane life. It’s got a brilliant slacker style, while the chorus brings up the deeper elements of the track, which is firmly rooted in more of troubled trip through life.
History Eraser builds on the comedy and the rambling speech of Avant Gardener, while David is more of a standard pop-rock track with a slight stomping plot and a cool guitar solo. Anonymous Club is a slower psych beast with some great tripped out guitar effects sifting in and out of the mix, leading into the slacker flow of Lance Jr.
There’s not much musically to Are You Looking After Yourself, being a simple garage band strummer, but the lyrics of the chorus, “I don’t want your 9 to 5 telling me that I’m alive”, have got a certain merit, building out of a headier 60s guitar progression. The slacker’s back with industrious purpose on Scotty Says, and there’s a lot of brilliance in the psych guitar, art rock lyrics and hushed vocals of Canned Tomatoes (Whole).
Porcelain is a bit of a dour chill, but Ode to Odetta finishes it all off with some great guitar and indescribably addictive vocals with their lilting tones and slashing contrasts.
Courtney Barnett’s The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas may well be a combination of her 2 previously released EPs, I’ve Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris and How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose, but it’s still a bit of a surprise crash out of nowhere for many listeners. It’s cool, musically impressive and slightly addictive. The album was released on the 15th October 2013.
Courtney Barnett The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas review: 4.7/5
Courtney Barnett The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas tracklist:
1. Out Of The Woodwork
2. Don’t Apply Compression Gently
3. Avant Gardener
4. History Eraser
6. Anonymous Club
7. Lance Jr
8. Are You Looking After Yourself
9. Scotty Says
10. Canned Tomatoes (whole)
12. Ode To Odetta