Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2015 So Far

5. Courtney Barnett
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
(Mom + Pop)

If 2013's warmly received The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, and a series of rousing live performances over the last year, raised expectations in music circles for Courtney Barnett's first full-length, few would have predicted that the 20-something Australian would become the breakout star of 2015. None of the praise should come as a surprise though, so intoxicating is Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit's blend of sharp riffs, early '90s college rock noise and playfully wry, stream-of-consciousness couplets.

Barnett's lyrics may deservedly garner much of the attention, but they shouldn't obscure the trio's exceptionally crisp playing and clever arrangements — the swirling organ that colours "Debbie Downer," subtle backing vocals and backwards guitars in "Dead Fox," the bluesy, psych-tinged coda of "Small Poppies" — that make Sometimes… such a rewarding, addictive pleasure and ensure that the album loses none of its power over the several dozen listens required to catch all of the singer's memorable punchlines.
Thierry Côté