'Album' of 'the Week'
Label: Marathon Artists
Released: 18th May 2018
If we were using one word - just one - to describe Courtney Barnett’s second full-length, it would probably be effortless.
That’s not in any way suggesting a lack of care taken in its creation - quite the opposite, in fact. Instead, it’s a record where every note feels to flow perfectly, yet not once does it feel overly polished or showy. Even in its shadowy, darker moments, ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ musically is so perfectly natural and at ease with itself it’s positively infectious.
It’s a vibe that fits well on an album that may cut back on the flat-out banger count from debut ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think...’. They’re still there - the glorious lead single ‘Nameless, Faceless’, with its tumbledown intro more than cuts the mustard - but ‘Tell Me...’ is a record in the truest sense.
The wistful, warm tone of ‘Need A Little Time’ is a slow burning ear-worm, its chorus gripping hold deliberately, while ‘Crippling Self Doubt And A General Lack Of Self-Confidence’ could be an anthem for a generation, with its sing-a-long refrain of ‘I don’t know anything’.
That by her second full-length Barnett is able to match the confused, emotionally unsure modern world to a delivery pitched with such deft care, without ever seeming to try too hard with it, is a testament to the artist she’s become. With a warmth and intelligence those twice her vintage still struggle to find, we feel okay, actually. Stephen Ackroyd