Courtney Barnett : I've Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris
Courtney Barnett probably has a lot of friends. As well as the obvious namesake of this EP, there's also Brent DeBover (of The Dandy Warhols and Immigrant Union), Pete Convery and Alex Hamilton (of Merri Creek Pickers). Courtney and this particular group of mates gathered in a lounge room recently to record the eight tracks that make up this honest, easy and notable debut.
With catchy melodies and sparse production, she creates a unique brand of slacker-folk, advanced primarily by her lyrical frankness and a deadpan sense of humour. It's both real and refreshing, awash with jangly guitars, vice-heavy lyricism and pop harmonies.
From the double-back-worthy opening line, "I masturbated to the songs you wrote," on Lance Jr. to the poppy, pleading, beautifully-paced closing number Ode To Odessa, the eight tracks ramble and roll through a personal and authentic version of life as a 20-something-year-old, basking in the carelessness of not having your shit together and not having a fuck to give.
This theme is most apparent in Are You Looking After Yourself, a seven minute track (five minute song and two minute reprise) that canters along, containing something relatable for those living in the shadows of their parents' 'shoulds' – get married, have babies, save money and watch the evening news, each ambition delivered in a passive and desireless tone over the twangy near-country pop music.
Scotty Says is a toe-tapping address to an absent ex, while Porcelain is a slow, sleepy and sorrowful swagger of a song with haunting vocals and a jittery piano solo.
I've Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris is probably life as you know it – it's avoiding opening any mail with an official government logo on it, it's drunkenly rambling about your friend's band to disinterested parties, and it's questioning if this is the weekend that you will finally prioritise reworking your CV and saving some coin over chasing fun. She's there in the boat with you. It's a casual and cool-as-fuck recount of everyday Melbourne life as Barnett knows it. You'll probably want to be her friend too.
BY TARYN STENVEI
Best Track: Are You Looking After Yourself
If You Like This, You'll Like These: Twerps TWERPS, New Start Again DICK DIVER, Is Growing Faith WHITE FENCE
In A Word: Frank