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COURTNEY BARNETT Things Take Time, Take Time gets 7.5/10


Courtney Barnett

Things Take Time, Take Time
Milk! Records / Mom + Pop Music / Marathon Artists

7.5/10

As the repetitive album title suggests, Things Take Time, Take Time plays out like a mantra. Throughout the album, both lyrically and musically, Barnett uses relaxed repetition as though willing herself into blissful serenity. It feels like the product of introspective investigation and the calmness that imbues someone who takes the time to self-audit and restore.

Considering how busy the past five years must have been for Barnett, as an internationally recognised and adored artist with huge expectations on her shoulders, some time out to reflect and meditate was probably needed. The practice proves that patience can make an effective, effortless, and unpretentious body of work.

Cool and contemplative, the album doesn’t over-reach if anything, it does the opposite. You might believe Barnett has done better, and it’s true that the album doesn’t pack heaps of punches, but that doesn’t seem to be its intention, instead it packs a warm hug. It’s an album that truly gets under your skin, such is its loveliness.

It does lyrically miss the laconic sharpness of Barnett’s previous albums, the droll and slick turn-of-phrases she has become famous for are not quite as cutting and in such abundance as her previous works. However, glimpses of her greatness are still there in lines likes “Pride like poison, always keeping score/ You don’t have to slam the door.”

The jangly guitar and rhythmic vocals on slacker hits like Before You Gotta Go, Rae Street and If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight are enough to get your foot tapping and singing along, and there are plenty of sleeper earworms such as Here’s The Thing, Oh The Night and Splendour that stir up the sentimental feels for the things that have past and the things are to come. It feels like a transitional album like that, a turning point; a beginning or an end – the two are the same thing.

Musically, it is the Barnett we know well – guitar led, undulating, thoughtful, catchy – though the music is more spatial than her previous albums. The guitar plays out like an extension of her voice and the instrumental work by Mozgawa (Warpaint) adds some needed texture.

The album is a personal one, with themes of mundane routine, healing, friendship, love, beginnings, and endings. It’s cathartic in that way; nothing lasts forever but that doesn’t mean it’s not successful, or that you should be bitter, instead, let the love that existed light your way out of the dark.

Perhaps it’s true that Barnett is at her absolute best when she is angry or more energised, but this new steadier demeanor feels like it comes from an artist that really knows who they are. The album proves that Barnett is a multi-faceted artist, and her output is always, always quality.

LARA FOX

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