'End of the Day' Is the Beginning of a Whole New Courtney Barnett

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BY Alex HudsonPublished Sep 8, 2023

Lyrics have long been Courtney Barnett's greatest songwriting strength, but she's also got impressive guitar chops, something that was particularly apparent on the explosive tour behind 2018's Tell Me How You Really Feel. End of the Day, the all-instrumental score for her tour documentary Anonymous Club, puts her six-string front-and-centre, the album's 17 tracks made up of minimal electric guitar meditations.

End of the Day was improvised, and its unstudied spontaneousness comes across in the single-chord drones and meandering arpeggios, while "Life Balance" sounds a bit like Barnett is tuning her guitar while fiddling around with the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey. She's playing her reverb pedal as much as she's playing the guitar itself, leaving luxurious pauses between the notes and sinking into the vibe of her hypnotic doodles, segueing one track into the next so that the mood never lifts.

It's a decidedly minor work from the songwriter, but that's part of its appeal. This is simply a low-stakes lark, as Barnett sets a peaceful, subtly melancholy mood without any flashiness or excess.

(Milk!), (Mom + Pop)

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