Courtney Barnett–Depreston

If you’ve got a/spare half a million/You could knock it down/and start rebuilding

Courtney Barnett took Australian indie to the big time last year when she self-released her full length debut on Milk! Records.  Much of the album, which comes off like a version of Please Like Me in musical form, followed in the wry, observational footsteps of previous singles like Avant Gardener. While it was thrilling to hear her hone that sound, the standout contribution was the gentle departure of Depreston.  It’s an easy track that sees Barnett’s beautiful, tender guitar work accompanied only by the softest of drums, allowing her to filter the Australian obsession with country through her own lens.  As always, she captures the absurd personal details of life, but this time around they’re more heartbreaking than hilarious.  There is a clear sadness in ver voice as she manages to transform a story about a house hunting trip to the suburbs into a rumination on consumerism and the value of possessions, growing up and gentrification.  Outside Barnett sees “….police arresting/a man with his hand in a bag.”  Inside it’s “a collection of those canisters for coffee, tea and flour/and a photo of a young man in a van in Vietnam.”  It’s at this point that she becomes overwhelmed by the situation, unable to separate her search for housing from the greater social implications.  It’s a surprisingly touching turn that grounds the album and proves that Barnett has range yet to show.

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