Barns Courtney’s second album favors edgy swagger and electronics over poetry and acoustics
British-American artist, Barns Courtney polishes his sound in sophomore album “404”.
Courtney’s first album, “The Attractions of Youth” is full of folksy poetic acoustics. The album was largely recorded in an abandoned old folks’ home, Courtney using everything from a squeaky door to a filing cabinet to create additional instrumentals.
“404” is a stark departure, while still feeling authentic to the artist. It is obvious this album was created in a studio, not a nondescript condemned building. Acoustics are joined with electronics. The songs are hooky first and poetic second. None of this is necessarily bad.
In fact, “404” is a strong showing, some of the best tracks are detailed below.
The first single released, “99” is about the disillusionment of youth and wanting to go back to the simplicity of childhood. In the case of Courtney and most of his fanbase, this golden age they wish to return to is the 90s, hence the song’s title.
With relatable lyrics such as, “Back then we were trading cards behind the swings. Oh no, now it’s money, gold, and diamond rings” there is no doubt this song will be a hit.
Given Courtney splits his time between London and the United States, it is not all that surprising that he would pen a track titled “London Girls”.
With a Nickelback “Rockstar” reference, active electronics and a singable swagger, “London Girls” is a fun and flirty tale of an unforgettable girl.
“I never felt a kiss like this before, and when she stares me out God help me now, light me up and strike me down.”
‘Fun Never Ends’
Old meets new styles in this fast-paced party tune. Acoustic strumming quickly gives way to heavy snare and electronics for the chorus. A party anthem for sure, “Fun Never Ends” is meant to be sang along to and jumped around to.
Complete with an electronic, bass-backed breakdown towards the end, the song builds back up to its frenzied ending.
‘Boy Like Me’
The most like his previous style, “Boy Like Me” makes poetic references now backed with an electric guitar solo reminiscent of an 80’s rock ballad.
Courtney quotes Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the end of the first verse, “Oh, come on saviour and save my soul, I’m tired of living this life alone. Oh, happy dagger on sunshine bones.”
“404” is a strong showing not only of the young musician’s talent but of his ability to evolve.