New York - "I need a little time out," Courtney Barnett pleads on the plaintive signature tune of her third full album.
Thank the Down-Under gods that she's wasn't so sick of herself — and us — to forge on after the first two.
Captivating as ever, the Melbourne phenom sings her heart out on the 10-track Tell Me How You Really Feel.
From the haunting psychedelic rock of Hopelessness to the edgy, throbbing I'm Not Your Mother, I'm Not Your Bitch, Barnett's grunge garage-band roots show, in a really good way.
Throughout, she sounds just like she did on her first EP, way back in 2012 — like a bored street kid who, still wiping sleep from her eyes and nocturnal hoarseness from her waifish voice, absentmindedly picked up a left-handed Telecaster and let it rip.
Now 30, Barnett infuses Aussie-tinged lyrics with elliptical tales of introspection, troubled partnerships, and even Internet trolling and domestic violence, in Nameless, Faceless — a biting critique that references The Handmaid's Tale.
The mood softens on the final track, Sunday Roast, a sweet anthem to acceptance. "You know your presence is present enough," Barnett sings. So, surely, is hers.