02 januari 2014

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

Ik heb het afgelopen jaar niet vaak gelinkt naar de recensies van de collega's van indiefuzz (http://indiefuzz.com). Op een of andere manier was de site verdwenen uit mijn bookmarks. Staat nu weer bovenaan en daar ga je ook op de krenten uit de pop wat van merken de komende tijd. De onderstaande recensie van de prachtplaat van Courtney Barnett wil ik de lezers van deze BLOG niet onthouden. Manou Chen heeft andere associaties en deze zijn ook allemaal herkenbaar. Het maakt de plaat van Courtney Barnett alleen maar mooier en waardevoller. Erwin Zijleman

Source: http://indiefuzz.com/courtney-barnett-the-double-ep-a-sea-of-split-peas/

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

courtney_barnettThis year I’ve selectively added just under three hundred albums to the ‘recently added’ playlist on my iThingy and reviewed less than one-third of them. Somehow Krenten Uit De Pop manages to point out a ‘must hear’ album that’s not on the playlist. Normally we just post Erwin Zijleman’s reviews on this BLOG, but my associations with Courtney Barnett’s Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas differ from Erwin’s to such a degree that I feel I have to do my own.
You could consider Barnett the alt. Lorde. Both singer-songwriters are from down under (Lorde from Auckland and Barnett from Melbourne), both of them broke through in the US and the UK out of virtually nowhere and both of them have a listing on Rolling Stones top 100 best songs of 2013 with a striking anthem for the common people. That’s about as far as the comparison goes. Lorde became an instant a-list popstar, scoring the world’s best-selling single of the year. I will not deny the universal appeal of Royals but it is in many ways the product of a 16-year old, its success reflecting the average (mental) age of the single-buying public. Barnett is eight years older, but I’m afraid that an entire lifetime won’t be enough for Lorde to equal the wit of Barnett’s single The Avant Gardner. Not that Lorde would want to, being a smart-aleck won’t get you on the a-list. But it will get you onto the Fuzz.
At first hearing the combination of Barnett’s deadpan singing style and the apparent lack of catchy melodies on A Sea Of Split Peas sounds a tad monotonous. But soon enough another level is revealed on which every humdrum element falls into place. Burnett showcases some of the best features of some notoriously phlegmatic songwriters. Her girl-from-the-corner-shop quality reminds me of Lilly Allen. Like Allen she can get away with the most explicit stuff without provoking. When she sings ‘I masturbated to the song you wrote’ as the opening line of Lance Jr. it’s more poetic than cheeky, nothing to upset any censoring board. When Barnett intersperses her stoic pungency in with unexpectedly serene singing like on the beautiful Anonymous Club she also reminds me of the great late Kirsty MacColl. Barnett’s compositions, however, already have the constant quality that MacColl attained late on in her abruptly ended career.
A last reference from way back and one that is most audible on the moody opener Out Of The Woodwork is Tanita Tikaram. Another dry-witted singer-songwriter that followed the school of Bob Dylan and who was also in risk of putting too many words into a single song. As a songwriting storyteller Tikaram was at least as talented as Barnett and probably more literate, but Barnett in turn is much better in expressing herself as singer and a guitarist. If you listen to her tuning and chord sequences you will probably agree with me that she must own the odd Nirvana record. With this portentous guitar play Barnett’s adds a dark framing to the mundane discomforts she likes to write and sing about. It’s essential to the appeal of her music, because without this its deeper level stay hidden and we’re left with good-intentions-clever-lyrics-but-barely-a-song. Of the twelve songs on A Sea Of Split Peas this only happens on Porcelain which is at least six minutes to long and two chords short. Other than this the Double EP is way too good for the A-list.