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Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice review – kindred spirits are on charming, kooky form

Long-distance bond … Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.
Long-distance bond … Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.

Although the pairing of these two wonderfully languid singer-songwriters could have ended up too hazy, their mutually dreamy, drawling styles complement each other perfectly. The way their guitars jangle and chime together reflects a longstanding friendship. They sing on each other’s old songs: Barnett’s Outta the Woodwork or a joyously upbeat version of Vile’s Blue Cheese. They turn in a harmony-soaked take on Belly’s Untogether and Barnett leads a Crazy Horse-style blast through her wife Jen Cloher’s Fear Is Like a Forest.

Five new original songs showcase a similar kooky charm as they rattle through random subjects. Vile sings about decibel-induced hearing impairment in six-minute opening duet Over Everything, while the pair drawlingly celebrate their long-distance bond in Continental Breakfast (“I cherish my intercontinental friendships”). Laughter in the studio punctuates songs that sound as much of a delight to record as they do to listen to: Lotta Sea Lice is at least the sum of its two talented parts.

This article titled "Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice review – kindred spirits are on charming, kooky form" was written by Dave Simpson, for The Guardian on Thursday 12 October 2017 09.30pm

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