Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett has brought some attention to herself in the last few years with her warm and full of life indie vocal, carefree guitar playing and personal lyrics. Barnett has displayed this sound on solid EPs like 2012's 'I've Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris' and 2013's 'How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose', and now Barnett delights us with a full length in the shape of 'Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit'.
From the nanosecond this album starts, you're put in a good mood with the upbeat and jangly atmosphere of 'Elevator Operator'. This track is gloriously messy, thrown together with childlike drumming, wonky keys and Barnett's sweet, nursery rhyme type vocals. Next is 'Pedestrian At Best' which is a more stompy number with stronger drums, fuzzier guitar as well as gripping, rapid spoken word that manically details Barnett's feelings of self-doubt with regards to how she sees herself compared to how someone else (a lover, perhaps) sees her: 'Put me on a pedestal and I'll only disappoint you'. The words say she's insecure, but sonically, she trying to make the best of it. Despite that uncertain lyrics, it's actually still a very uplifting song, once again formed by this jovial tone and the relatable song theme.
'An Illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepless In New York)' is mostly laid back with the exception of the elastic use of electric guitar in the chorus. Like a daydream in that it does very little in terms of movement, it still gives the song a significant amount of life, alongside the pleasant repetition of, "I'm thinking of you too". 'Small Poppies' is yet more drowsy with light guitar strokes and continuing themes of insecurity. 60s psychedelic influences also come into play with that hazy vibe and random note pattern. While the mood changes, the record remains warm and summery until it gets to 'Depreston', which is a shade darker. It's a nice breather from the vast fluorescence of the record without straying too far out of the flow.
Getting back to brightness comes 'Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party', skipping along with lively, but easy going strumming, but penultimate track 'Kim's Caravan' is a massive left turn in terms of the sonic mood. If 'Depreston' was a slight break from the joy of this album, then this next track is a large removal of it. There's a slow, limp bassline and creaky light tremolo picking that makes Joy Division spring to mind. Barnett sounds lost as she sings once again about uncertainty in herself, but does, however, throw in the optimistic line, "We all think that we're nobody but everybody is somebody else's somebody". It works really well though; yet another happy tune might've felt tired at this point, and it's just as accomplished as any other song here. 'Boxing Day Blues' is a suitable end to the album, accompanied by tender acoustic guitar and echoing vocals which sends the album drifting off.
On a whole, 'Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit' is a great feel good indie album. While it can sound a little samey with the continued sunshine flavour, twinkly musicality and lyrical themes of insecurity, that's a complaint worth overlooking as it makes for a collection of songs that are sometimes soothing, sometimes lively and always fun. Plus, it never feels like too much, but is instead an honest, sincere insight into her feelings that makes for an instantly relatable set of songs.
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