Courtney Barnett is quickly becoming Australian royalty, and it’s no surprise why. Her first EP managed to combine the Australiana sounds of acts like Redgum and Paul Kelly with the garage slacker rock that has become ever so popular in recent years. Not only that but Barnett has slapped a new coat of paint on the themes of those iconic predecessors, instead singing songs of confusion and forced apathy, something all too familiar to the modern 20-something Australian. Ever since the first line of ‘Avant Gardener’ it was clear that Courtney Barnett was going to be a big deal. Which brings us to today.

Right now Barnett is a massive deal the entire world over, just about to play her first SXSW showcase and scheduled to appear on Ellen where she’ll hopefully touch on her inability to take bong hits for the middle aged audience. This probably won’t happen, as she will most likely be sticking to playing something from her album Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. If there’s a best jumping on point for Courtney Barnett then it’s got to be Sit and Think thanks to an expert’s touch of polish to one of Australia’s rawest exports outside live animals.

If you’ve heard the album’s first single ‘Pedestrian at Best’ then you should probably know that that is the closest to the rock side of the spectrum the album gets. With Sit and Think Barnett tends to take things slow more often than not, evidenced by songs like ‘Boxing Day Blues’ or the already well loved ‘Depreston.’ It’s a sign of the subtly that Barnett has gained throughout the period of writing Sit and Think, that she can create such power without necessarily raising her voice. It’s a truly grand update to a style most didn’t realise needed one in the first place.

There’s a distinctly homely feeling to the twenty something’s creation right off the bat with ‘Elevator Operator.’ Here you see those standard Courtney themes from before expanded upon through the story of a burnt out kid in a part of town he doesn’t fit into scaling a skyscraper to simply sit on its rooftop and think about people, all to some dirty guitar and a synth line that could fit into a Sims menu screen. The angst, aimlessness, and despair from the last release are all there but have been packaged and polished in a way that the previous album never did, and thus feel all the more lively for it. In fact, the album as a whole seems to have this feeling of built upon familiarity to it, from ‘Small Poppies’ to ‘Debbie Downer,’ a raucous tune that I am sure is going to be the next single if there is one.

If there was to be a weak spot on the album, it’d have to be ‘An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless In NY)’ and even then only due to its lyrical content. Courtney Barnett has made her lyrics renowned often by taking a cliché and subverting it, but with ‘NY’ it feels like she’s fallen into the cliche rather than addressing it and making it hers. The album is a brick wall, the only thing you can chisel away from it without tools being concrete debris.

Cleatus Glob

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