Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile

Lotta Sea Lice

Matador

Oct 11, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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A perfect marriage of sound and substance, Lotta Sea Lice finds two of indie rock's most vibrant and eclectic singer/songwriters sharing the spotlight for a brilliant joint LP.  Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile have long been celebrated for their introspective, journalistic songwriting, acting as voyeurs into the everyday life of the ordinary human. A perfect marriage of sound and substance, Lotta Sea Lice finds two of indie rock's most vibrant and eclectic singer/songwriters sharing the spotlight for a brilliant joint LP.  Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile have long been celebrated for their introspective, journalistic songwriting, acting as voyeurs into the everyday life of the ordinary human. Their monotonous singing style and rambling, stream of conscious lyrical style might make it seem like this is a match that might be too made in heaven, that the similarities of the two would make for a repetitious listen. Fortunately the two dig into what makes each one of their sounds so distinct and special, joining together to create nine tracks of pure indie rock bliss.

The duo's back-and-forth singing style allows for the two indie bards to almost finish one another's thoughts, à la the Beastie Boys on License to Ill. Opening track "Over Everything" sees Vile and Barnett relaying to one another their pure love of music as a form of escape, all over a wavy guitar line. The conversational style feels like listening in on a private conversation on the artist psyche, delving deep into the minds of two of rock's best. As the tracks move, both Barnett and Vile have their chances to shine individually, even when covering each other's songs. "Peepin' Tom" (a cover of a Vile song) sees Barnett ruminating on the inner push and pull we face on an everyday basis over a beautifully plucked guitar. "Outta the Woodwork" finds Vile covering a Barnett song and is Vile at his most heartbreaking, Barnett's Dylan-esque lyrics pulling at the heartstrings of a dissolving relationship. These are two titans of their craft weaving ideas and words through one another, making for an organic connection.

Guitar dominates the record, which is no surprise seeing as the two stars wield mighty axes. Vile and Barnett create strikingly textured layers of sounds with their instruments, finishing one another's notes just as with their lyrics. This is a record that indie-rock fans could only dream about, a combination so natural it is a wonder it never happened sooner.  Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile are on top of their respective games on Lotta Sea Lice, and hopefully the magic will not stop at one record. (www.kurtvile.com) (www.courtneybarnett.com.au)

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