Courtney Barnett – The Double Ep: A Sea of Split Peas (2014)

Courtney Barnett is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Melbourne, Australia. Her 2014 release, A Sea of Split Peas, is her third studio album with Milk! Records. Throughout all of her songs, Courtney’s vocal style is partly sung, partly spoken and rambled. Hence, the song title “Avant Gardener”. Her lyrics always catch me by surprise. They’re witty, clever, and brutally honest. A Sea of Split Peas is an album full of well-written songs, psychedelic textures, and clever lyrics.

“Avant Gardner” is one of my favorite tracks. While the lyrics on the rest of the album are good as well, Barnett’s lyricism really shines through in this track. This track is about Courtney Barnett having some sort of breathing problem. In one of her wittier lyrics, Barnett describes how her lungs feel: “I’m breathing but I’m wheezing / Feel like I’m emphysem-‘in. / My throat feels like a funnel filled with Weet-Bix and kerosene and…” She compares her ability to breathe with the dryness and flakiness of Australia’s least favorite breakfast, Weet-Bix (similar to USA’s Weetabix). Another one of my favorite lyrics references Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. (Spoilers) In the movie, Uma Thurman’s character overdoses on heroin and gets a shot of adrenaline in her heart. In “Avant Gardner”, Barnett says “I get adrenalin / straight to the heart. / I feel like Uma Thurman / post-overdosing kick start.”

Another one of my favorites is “History Eraser”, one of the more powerful and driving songs on the album. Other than the chorus, this song is entirely spoken-word. At one point, the instruments all stop for a second and sustain a chord while Courtney says “You said “I guarantee we’ll have more fun, drink till the moon becomes the sun, and in the taxi home I’ll sing you a triffids song!” Since there is no real vocal melodic hook, the song relies on the other instruments to carry the track tonally until the chorus.

“Anonymous Club” is also worth mentioning. This song is about separating one’s self from the frantic and stressful world of ‘real life’. There are some really psychedelic textures in this one, especially the sweeping guitar frequencies. This track sounds like a happier B-side to Radiohead’s “How to Disappear Completely” I feel like this could have been alternatively titled “How to Disappear Temporarily”

Courtney Barnett’s double Ep is definitely worth listening to. Her music is incredibly accessible to most audiences. The lyrics aren’t strict in meter or rhythm, but they’re very relatable. This double Ep is a cozy, feel-good collection of songs. I highly recommend it.

Favorite Track: History Eraser

Courtney Barnett - Double Ep Sea of Split Peas

One response to “Courtney Barnett – The Double Ep: A Sea of Split Peas (2014)”

  1. I like Courtney Barnett, and especially “Avant Gardener,” which is in heavy rotation on Music Choice Adult Alternative (which I listen to on my TV via Comcast at home) and on (which I listen to on my computer via iTunes at work).


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