Newcomer Courtney Barnett Rocks

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Courtney Barnett
Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
(Mom + Pop)
In A Word: Rawk!

courtneybOn her impressively assured debut album, the 27-year-old Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett grabs you by the lapels and insists you hear what she has to say.

Not that you mind, because why would anyone want to resist an album this honest and tuneful? The ragged guitars and conversational singing will remind listeners of a certain age of Pavement, but so have plenty of now-forgotten albums. What makes the young Australian singer-songwriter worth your attention where she deviates from the ’90s indie template.

There’s none of the arch, oblique stratagems that Malkmus, et al, were so fond of; Barnett favors the rush of stream of consciousness, with stories, observations and jokes jostling for position.

It’s hard not to be pulled along in the excitement. She catalogs lovelorn nights in a strange towns, road trips (with time to wonder if an allergy caused sneeze could send her out of control), the daily minutiae of small town living, dull parties, accompanied by pounding drums, squalling guitars and her matter-of-fact vocals. By turns confident, knowing and self-deprecating, Sometimes I Sit And Think… proves that straight ahead guitar-based rock still has plenty of life left.

Steven Mirkin

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