A confessional singer-songwriter who is miles away from the irritating Joni Mitchell warbling that such a title suggests, Courtney Barnett’s apparent obsession with setting every single one of her passing thoughts to music is one that continues unabated on her first real full length. Subjects here range from swimming (in the very much throwaway Aqua Profunda!) to property (Depreston) and organic vegetables (Dead Fox) via a vast array of topics generally considered too mundane for lyrical content, but here they nonetheless often lend themselves a certain charm.
Lead single Pedestrian at Best remains the standout: the raucous Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!– era Nick Cave wordplay stands up well with the stripped-back garage rock stomp of the backing and endlessly replayable chorus mantra. Elsewhere, Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to The Party makes for an excellent Modern Lovers-like contrast to the forlorn balladeering of the aforementioned Depreston, which sees a mournful, gentler side to Barnett’s vocal and a chance for it to escape its usual punkier confines. Somehow though, the record doesn’t quite live up to her previous EPs, generally lacking the bile, bite and wit that cemented her as a swift cult heroine in her native Australia and elsewhere and losing a lot in its excess of whimsy. Still, for an album based around swimming and vegetables, it’s actually pretty good.