Courtney Barnett brings the melodramatic kink and nonchalant quirk, Kurt Vile lays the twirling twang and wispy guitar, and together combines the trans-continental power-duo you always wanted, but never thought possible. Almost as if they were meant to be siblings glued together through music, odds couldn’t have driven a bigger wedge between them than a continents-worth of land and unspeakably large body of water. But who’s one to back down from odds when the music sways in your favor? And there’s no doubt about it on Lotta Sea Lice: the music glue was working overtime.
From teeth-gritting, low-key blues-rock numbers like “Fear Is Like a Forest” to rambling acoustic plucking on “Continental Breakfast” and “Blue Cheese”, the bag of tricks was wide open for both parties. And encapsulated in a daze of unadulterated indie-rock, “Over Everything” sits like the table centerpiece for seasoned veterans of wily guitar-work and sarcasm. As the convergence between country drawl and lackadaisical indifference, it’s no secret why “Over Everything” is an original standout and a more-than-great starting point for an even better album. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, they trade takes on leading the others song—Vile sings majority of Barnett’s 2014 song “Out of the Woodwork” and Barnett sings all of Vile’s 2011 number “Peeping Tomboy”—before tuning down a notch for the finale with “Untogether”.
Gut instinct says this duo isn’t done, because Lotta Sea Lice is sheer magic. We may have to wait a while, so best hunker down for the long-haul. Something’s saying it will be well worth the wait. Well worth it.