Courtney Barnett: “I’ve started realising how many more options there are – the ideas are really endless”

Courtney Barnett
(Image credit: Mia Mala McDonald)

Cutting her teeth on the bustling streets of Melbourne, it was her warm, honeyed folkiness and labyrinthine poetry that gave Courtney Barnett her most ardent supporters. Becoming an international indie-rock stalwart seemingly overnight, she cranked up the energy for her summery debut full-length, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (2015), and sank farther into the rabbithole of grungy, punky grit on its follow-up, Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018). But for her third solo album, Things Take Time, Take Time, the story-centric singer-songwriter has, in a sense, returned to her roots.

It wasn’t entirely intentional, either. When Barnett was starting out, she was bound to the volumetric constraints of sharehouses and flats, writing gentler songs on acoustic guitars to avoid complaints from her neighbours. It made sense to beef up the sonics for her first two albums, then, because with whole studios of amps, electric guitars and pedals at her disposal, Barnett was able to shred out to her heart’s content – ditto for those of her bandmates in the CB3. But this time around, with touring off the table and all the studios in her immediate vicinity shut – y’know, global pandemic and all – Barnett found herself once more in those restricted settings, flat-sitting for a mate in her old batting grounds of Melbourne.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…