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ALI BARTER Hello, I’m Doing My Best gets 7/10


Ali Barter
Hello, I’m Doing My Best
Inertia Music

7/10

Two years since her debut, A Suitable Girl, Ali Barter has returned with a sophomore album which has one of the greatest titles this year, Hello, I’m Doing My Best. The album shows a different side to the singer, a darker side that wasn’t really present on her debut, but it brings more big rock songs, great riffs and singalong lines than A Suitable Girl.

Album opener Lester is a sweet sounding number that was recorded on iPhone. It’s short and is a classic little acoustic track. “Don’t you know that love sucks,” is a lyric that stands out. It’s a nice way to start the album, before big guitars kick in on Ur A Piece of Shit. This song has some of the darkest lyrics on the album, but also highlights the love between friends, and makes you want to be a part of this bad ass girl gang that Ali seems to have.

History Of Boys is the highlight of the album, with a bass line that draws from The Strokes, along with a riff that kicks in during the verse. The chorus will definitely be inciting some sing/scream alongs, and the strategic drum pause and fill in the chorus gives it some extra oomph. The guitar solo follows the chorus melody before the song kicks back into gear. The only word I have is ‘epic’.

“I’m not the girl that I want to be,” stands out on Cocktail Bar which has interesting melody lines, and is a little more subdued than previous album tracks, providing a nice breather. January continues on the slower path, with relatable lyrics about New Year’s Resolutions and how they never get fulfilled. The track builds across its three minutes to bring back the big rock energy.

Backseat is a rock take on a love song, and definitely brings back memories of band boy crushes of the past. The track includes a phone call from Barter to Oscar Dawson (of Holy Holy, the song’s subject) mixed under the bridge, which is a cool addition to the song, and is a cute little history of how they got together.

The best melody and harmonies on the album are on Are You Happy Now which details seeing an ex at an airport in a dream, while This Girl has some of the more upbeat lyrics of the record, with the lines “This girl, these shoes keep walking”.

I Won’t Lie is a classic album closer; feedback, riffs, “na na na”s and a fade out. The downfall in this song is where she repeats the sounds in “Lie” until it gets annoying. The track starts off with a nice little riff before it turns into a big rock song with feedback. It sounds like 90s band Garbage and the riff like Pixies’ Where Is My Mind. 

This album really gives out big rock energy, and although the instrumentals sound upbeat, the lyrics are quite dark when you give them a close listen. Some of the ‘big rock songs’ sound a little similar, but this is broken up well with the more subdued tracks in between.

KIERRA POLLOCK

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