Barns Courtney’s debut album, “The Attractions of Youth” features some music that’s already been released, but surprisingly everything on the album feels about as fresh as it could possibly be. Courtney’s unique raspy vocal and his ability to craft some exceptional hooks based on simple rhythms will get feet tapping and heads bobbing.
The Attractions of Youth is at its best when Courtney is using those rhythms to his advantage. Songs like, “Fire”, “Glitter & Gold”, “Hands”, “Hellfire” “Hobo Rocket” - and to a lesser extent “Kicks” all work because of their core of simplicity. Then, that core gets stacked with a killer vocal and some outstanding guitar work. The formula doesn’t really change that much across the record, so you can say that it gets a little repetitive. Songs like “Glitter & Gold” “Hellfire” and “Champion” are all similar. But, in this instance, who really cares? They’re also great songs.
There are some great songs on this album, but there are also some weird moments too. “Goodbye John Smith” and the title track, “The Attractions of Youth” sound like they should only be performed in 1970’s hotel lounges. Both songs do have some appeal but they don’t necessarily fit in with what Courtney did on the rest of the record.
“The Attractions of Youth” is a great start for Courtney. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. A lot of these songs have a common core to them that might grow stale on consecutive records, so he’s going to have to change something up when he does another album. That said, it works here repeatedly and “The Attractions of Youth” ends up being a great album.