Music, Print, Reviews February 9, 2015

New Music Monday: Courtney Barnett — Pedestrian at Best

by Clark Lamson

SIJS-2400Though original content dates back to 2011, it was with the 2013 release The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas that Australian rock artist Courtney Barnett first grabbed American attention. While “singer-songwriter” would be accurate, it gives Barnett an implied sweetness that she quite simply doesn’t have. Her lyrics are biting and sarcastic, and her deadpan sing-song can range from Mac Demarco to Johnny Rotten. Her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit arrives in late March. Luckily, we have an amazing new single, and an accompanying music video.

“Pedestrian at Best” is the first single released from the new album, and Barnett’s most aggressive song yet. While fans gobbled up her lazy stoner strumming, the single is more akin to her punkier material, a la “History Eraser.” Her natural wit has never been more obvious, and the lyrical flow is more akin to something you might hear on a rap track. Her vocal is kicked up to just below a yell, and armed with lyrics like “put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint / you tell me I’m exceptional and I promise to exploit you.”

Too often we’re faced with music that tries to say too much, and ultimately says nothing. Barnett manages to be lyrically interesting and intensely (sometimes hilariously) personal with stories about gardening and drunken nights with pals. Barnett is scorching a path in music for herself, and does it not in a Ferrari, but an old beater. Barnett will be opening for The Decemberists and Spoon at Red Rocks in May. The new album comes out March 23rd, and is available for pre-order now.

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