Album Review: Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s ‘Lotta Sea Lice’

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile are two of the most charming musicians in the industry, the kind you just want to have a beer with round a dimming campfire and mull over how cool dogs are. It’s unlikely you’ll ever be in their company but the good vibes channel through and, unfortunately, it’s the closest you’re going to get.

The album sets the scene early. Like a campfire singalong in spring, it pulls you in until guitar shrills rattle your brain, just to be lullabied back together by the swaying melodies of ‘Let It Go’. “There ain’t a ‘nother soul around/I wanna dig into my guitar bend a blues riff that hangs” Barnett sings in ‘Over Everything’, her delivery dry and lyrically piercing, but with that throaty warmth that makes her so charming.

Like an embrace from a lover you haven’t yet met

Kurt Vile offsets her wonderfully with a little bit of goof; you can almost hear him grinning throughout ‘Blue Cheese. This is what a makes the album so pleasant – a wonderful sense of fun, like the album is the audio form of their blossoming friendship.

But with any jam album, there’s always the threat of melting away into your own nonchalance. ‘Outta the Woodwork’ does exactly that, and ‘On Script’ comes and goes just as quick as is came. If all that came from the project was this song then it would still be worth it; it feels like an embrace from a lover you haven’t met yet, gentle on the ears and warming to the soul. Not exactly profound, but to hang out with these two for a little while is a treat. Look it up for the most wholesome album you’ll hear all year.

Score: 3.5/5

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