The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - An­drew McMillen

One week on from the ARIA Awards, Aus­tralia is buzzing with some of the live ac­tion go­ing on across the coun­try, in­clud­ing tours by A-lis­ters such as Tay­lor Swift and Ed Sheeran — the lat­ter was able to show his face and per­form at the ARIAs in Sydney on Novem­ber 26. One no­tice­able ab­sen­tee, how­ever, was lead­ing con­tender and mul­ti­ple win­ner Court­ney Bar­nett. The Mel­bourne-based singer and song­writer, who picked up best fe­male artist for her al­bum Some­times I Sit and Think, and Some­times I Just Sit, was un­able to at­tend be­cause she is on tour in Bri­tain. De­spite not be­ing able to pick up her three ARIAs, she can take some con­so­la­tion in the re­views she has been earn­ing in Blighty for her per­for­mances. On the day of the ARIAs, Bar­nett got gush­ing re­views for her show at Lon­don’s Ken­tish Town Fo­rum, in­clud­ing in the na­tional daily news­pa­per The In­de­pen­dent: “The won­der­ful stream-of-con­scious­ness lyrics that tum­ble from her mouth make the 28-year-old as much of a poet as she is a singer: less ap­a­thetic slacker and more acute ob­server as she spits out snap­shots of ev­ery­day life, making the mun­dane sud­denly sound deeply mean­ing­ful.” One notes with in­ter­est that her encore for the evening was a cover of the Saints’ Know Your Prod­uct, af­ter which “Bar­nett drops to the ground with her gui­tar, clam­bers to her feet again and wan­ders off­stage: leav­ing her au­di­ence pant­ing for more”. Well done her. Scoundrels Dal­las Crane Ny­lon Sounds

A nine-year gap be­tween albums finds Mel­bourne quar­tet Dal­las Crane in as­ton­ish­ingly strong form. Its 2004 self-ti­tled release is a rock 'n' roll clas­sic that con­trasts light and shade; 2006’s Fac­tory Girls was a fine fol­low-up. The band has been missed on the tour­ing cir­cuit and its fifth al­bum, Scoundrels, re-es­tab­lishes its grip on the task of making rock song­writ­ing sound fresh and vi­tal. While the rhythm sec­tion has changed since the 2006 release, the core song­writ­ing duo — gui­tarists Dave Larkin and Pete Satchell — has not, and th­ese 10 songs are typ­i­cally well-writ­ten, in­tel­li­gent con­tri­bu­tions. Larkin’s lead vo­cals are won­der­fully gruff and dis­tinct, and when Satchell steps up to the mi­cro­phone with an acous­tic gui­tar for al­bum cen­tre­piece Lucky Me, the con­trast in their voices is stark. That song segues into the Larkin­led Dis­il­lu­sioned; when com­bined, this pair­ing runs to eight min­utes, sur­pass­ing the sev­en­minute-long Come Clean from the 2004 al­bum in en­ergy, emo­tion and du­ra­tion. It’s a tow­er­ing achieve­ment that sees Dal­las Crane ex­hibit­ing that key-in-lock feel sought by ev­ery rock band. Th­ese four play­ers are mas­ters of their craft. The band’s time off has been well-spent, as ev­ery idea here hits the mark. If any­thing, it’s an em­bar­rass­ment of riches: in the fi­nal bars of third track So It Goes, the band switches gear and fol­lows a dif­fer­ent groove that fades to si­lence, hint­ing at the qual­ity of what’s been left on the cut­ting-room floor.

Court­ney Bar­nett is get­ting great re­views

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