Album review: Courtney Barnett’s ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’


Three and a half stars

Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Magnetically neurotic even when she keeps her cool, Courtney Barnett has been climbing the indie ladder since 2013 breakout single “Avant Gardener.” On her debut LP Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, the Aussie singer-songwriter sounds as unabashedly wordy and awkwardly charming as on previous project The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. Whether she’s rambling about her slacker self or fictional characters—“I’m not going to work today/Gonna count the minutes that the train’s running late/Sit on the grass/Building pyramids out of Coke cans”—Barnett’s bouncy Sheryl Crow-y cadence and dry Stephen Malkmus-ish delivery make the banal seem interesting. “I lay awake at 3 staring at the ceiling/It’s a kind of off-white, maybe it’s a cream,” she muses on “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York).”

Like finding a stranger’s diary and discovering it’s too good to put down, listening to Sometimes I Sit opens a door into Barnett’s blaringly insecure world, from the self-deprecating “Small Poppies” to the aggressive “Pedestrian at Best.” Filled with jangly ’90s nods and bluesy ’70s muscle, Barnett’s work is best when she’s her candid, sardonic self—and lucky for us, that’s almost always.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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