Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas- Courtney Barnett

Grade: 7.3

1. Out of the Woodwork
2. Don't Apply Compression Gently
3. Avant Gardener
4. History Eraser
5. David
6. Anonymous Club
7. Lance Jr
8. Are you Looking After Yourself?
9. Scotty Says
10. Canned Tomatoes (whole)
11. Porcelain
12. Ode to Odetta

You've got to love the honesty of autobiographical music, even if that honesty admits of mediocrity, or supposedly worse, inactivity. That's exactly what Melbourne's Courtney Barnett admits of in her The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, a passionately passionless mix between slacker rock and 60's folk.

It isn't really folksy in terms of musical style, but it definitely is when it comes to the record's lyrics and their structure. The quick succession of the stories that Barnett tells in her music is very, very Dylan. Barnett's music really is strongest when it tells stories, when it drifts from meandering melodies about the banality and meaninglessness of the mundane to fascinating stories that could've easily been pulled from the pages of a very good novel.

This comparison isn't perfect though. The album does lack continuity. That's to be expected though. It is an EP. Barnett has stated that she is working on a full length record. Hopefully it will grasp the continuity that I know she could form so beautifully.

Avant Gardener (track 3) is really the best song on the album. It captures everything that makes this style of music so good. It's reserved chord progression meanders, her monotone focuses attention on the lyrics rather than inflection, the story is lovely.

Speaking of style, this is hipster music and it's incredibly difficult to put it in any musical category. The influences seem to be so eclectic that if I named them all in succession, your incredulity might keep you from giving this a listen. I'd hate to do that, this is great music and I'll certainly be keeping me eyes open for news of Barnett's full length album.

Stray Observations

  • How can something so twangy remind me so vividly of So-Cal Indie Rock? Maybe because it's Indie...
  • I love the Pulp Fiction reference on Avant Gardener and the fact that song is called Avant Gardener
  • "I'm not that good at smokin' bongs, I'm not that good at breathing in."
  • I realize that like %50 of music is influenced by Bob Dylan, but I really didn't expect to find that here. 
  • The name of this EP seems unnecessarily long