Barns Courtney – The Attractions Of Youth
Indie Folk | Alternative
The debut album from Barns Courtney is the embodiment of the age-old adage “be careful what you wish for”. Musical diversity is something that I hold in high regard, and in the right circumstances can be the sign of a truly great artist. In this instance however it feels forced, as though Barns has stretched himself too thin on this record. For each moment of promise, playing around with a style that suits him down to the ground, there’s a moment where he pursues a sound that is simply not worth the effort. ‘Hobo Rocket’ for instance, which recalls (and even name-checks) Beck, just sounds like a cheap imitation rather than someone being influenced and putting their own spin on it. There are a lot of filler tracks, and the record would really benefit from a shorter and more focussed track list.
Attractions Of Youth does have its moments however! Opening track ‘Fire’ lives up to its name, offering plenty of blues spirit and a cinematic western feel that sounds like it belongs on the trailer for the new Red Dead Redemption. The somber piano ballad ‘Goodbye John Smith’ sees Barns’ voice at it’s most gravelly and vulnerable, akin to Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, while ‘Little Boy’ is a brilliantly likeable and accessible folk pop hit. As a whole though it sounds as though Barns Courtney has decided to avoid the curse of the second album by simply getting his bad album out of the way to begin with. Attractions is the sound of someone still trying to find their feet and decide upon a star to follow. The potential is there, but he still has a way to go to pick up the pieces and put them together as polished and engaging final product.