What is it about Courtney Barnett that has resonated in such a way that it has managed to reach to the farthest ends of Western musical culture, allowing her voice to be heard on an international scale?
It’s an extraordinary achievement for someone who, by her own account, is perfectly ordinary. Then again, that may well be where the trigger lies – Barnett has an unrivalled ability to find those proverbial diamonds in the rough, scraping beneath the surface of the seemingly humdrum and inconsequential to reveal something far deeper and rich in character development.
Take Elevator Operator, the first track on Barnett’s debut LP, which begins as an acutely detailed description of a 20-something’s menial day and ends up twisting into something entirely different by the time the chorus rolls around. She moves into homesickness and home-buying, hype machines and coffee shops, the promised land and a life without parties. Every topic, every story and every last piece of anecdotal evidence evolves into something far greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a perfectly imperfect look at life and the way we live it.
Transcending ‘dolewave’ and all surrounding indie rock trends, Barnett has released perhaps the year’s most thought-provoking album.
DAVID JAMES YOUNG