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Courtney Barnett - End of the Day (Album Review)

Monday, 18 September 2023 Written by Graeme Marsh

Anonymous Club, Danny Cohen’s documentary about Courtney Barnett, threw up an interesting treat for fans, offering insight into the Australian indie-rocker’s journey to international recognition. Now, ‘End of the Day’ takes the film’s score and gives it its own release, pulling down the curtain on Milk! Records, the label Barnett started a little more than a decade ago, in the process.

Instrumental throughout, the album isn’t going to catch the imagination of a new audience. This isn’t a collection of beautifully crafted pieces that offer their own endearing presence in the way that, say, a Mogwai album might. Instead, you’re hit with a batch of incidental music that isn’t going to hit the mark very often.

There are hints of something special. The warped guitars of Life Balance fleetingly bring back memories of Talk Talk’s masterpiece ‘Spirit of Eden’ and also, somehow, Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. Intro and River also benefit from syrupy layers of distorted guitars.

The tranquil drone of opener Start Somewhere is also of note, displaying a characteristic of the record that is less effective elsewhere. The title track is atmospheric, with that tempered drone simmering underneath, while Eternity Repeat is good but far, far too short.

Elsewhere, there are moments that may send you into a slumber. First Slow suffers from this incumbrance, as does Circles Reflecting. Too often ‘End of the Day’ simply sounds like background music. Admittedly, it’s a completely different experience with the film taking centre stage — perhaps that’s the way it should have been left.

It requires the accompanying visuals to bring some life into it or, alternatively, Barnett’s magnetic vocals need to pop up to pull you in. Sadly, this is one for completists only and ‘End of the Day’ is likely to just wash over you without leaving a mark of any kind.  

Courtney Barnett Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed October 11 2023 - BRATTLEBORO Vermont - Stone Church (USA)
Thu October 12 2023 - BROOKLYN New York - National Sawdust (USA)
Fri October 13 2023 - BROOKLYN New York - National Sawdust (USA)
Sat October 14 2023 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - First Unitarian Church - PA (USA)
Sun October 15 2023 - WASHINGTON District of Columbia - Atlantis (USA)
Fri November 03 2023 - LOS ANGELES California - Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever (USA)
Sat November 04 2023 - LOS ANGELES California - Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever (USA)

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