Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett Reveal This Summer’s Album Title
Philly country-psych zen master Kurt Vile and Australian indie-rock orator Courtney Barnett are at once an odd couple and a perfect union—not so much a mirror image of one another as a negative exposure.
Vile rarely rocks out as rambunctiously as Barnett, and Barnett doesn’t ever zone out to the same degree as Vile. And where Barnett can pack an impossible amount of observational narrative detail into a single couplet, Vile often spends his songs lingering on the feeling of lingering.
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But on a musical level, the two encroach on common twangy turf whenever their respective songs settle into a country-rock groove.
Ultimately their differing songwriting styles serve the same function—they’re coping mechanisms against the absurdities and indignities of the modern world, navigating them toward an inner peace that always seems just a little out of reach.
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That they just so happen to share first names with the preeminent power couple of ’90s alt-rock only makes their partnership seem all the more pre-destined.
But these seemingly mundane interactions are elevated by the audible bonhomie that Vile and Barnett exude when communing with one another.
On the opening “Over Everything,” the two compare notes on their peculiar creative processes (he finds inspiration in solitude; she “speed-read[s] the morning news”), practically singing over one another with the excitement of two new acquaintances slowly coming to the realization that they’re actually long lost soul mates.
After trading lines, Vile and Barnett sing the final verse in harmony as if sealing their friendship by blood pact, before mischievously steering the song’s breezy acoustic lope into a stormy, twang-tangled extended outro.
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