"Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile are the most calm multi-taskers: aware of the world, but not always of all the commotion it brings"
Written by Madison Major
As the opening track, “Over Everything”, off of Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s collaborative LP, Lotta Sea Lice, begins to play, it is probable that the lingering folk-rock sound that is created between the two will invite listeners into a world that Courtney and Kurt have created in hushed whispers for some time. And, to some, that world might just feel a lot like home.
The world created by the two is one composed of a whimsical and meditative tone, but, at the same time, not lacking in sarcasm and trust. The pair document a friendship, that even if we haven’t experienced - we know we want to find at some point.
The flow of the record, while slow and leisurely, does not feel lazy. The first single released and the first track of the record, “Over Everything”, features the easy line trading that Barnett and Vile have mastered in a way that seems very casual. The lyrical ability of the pair is highlighted by the short musings by the two about their own anxieties and humorous remarks to each other, which to the listener it feels like being a welcome fly on the wall. “Continental Breakfast”, another stand out track, feature Vile’s acoustic guitar finger picking accompanied by Barnett’s signature electric guitar stylistic flourishes and incorporates the energy that is found on her solo endeavors. Barnett and Vile’s addition of covers to originals prove to be beneficial on this record instead of just a time filler. “Blue Cheese”, originally by Vile, has a new spin with the incorporation of Barnett, and continues to remind that, although both artists can stand alone, it is lovely when they are together. In “Fear is Like a Forest,” Barnett leads on a track that belongs to her wife, which not only elevates a great track, but also elevates the album as a whole.
This record is a reminder that great things can, sometimes, come to those who wait. Barnett and Vile aren’t rushing life or the work that they create in it. The record serves as a gentle reminder to all of us to be patient, surround ourselves with compatible companions, and observe all of the smaller moments in life, as well as the large ones. It creates a space that feels like home for the misfits, that Kurt and Courtney empathize with- making it one of the better duo records that has come out in quite some time. Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile are the most calm multi-taskers: aware of the world, but not always of all the commotion it brings. Plus, they are damn good at making music.