The Attractions Of Youth is an impressive debut from the Anglo-American Barnes Courtney. Featuring the already successful singles, he kicks on to deliver a plethora of blues/folk-tinged pop anthems, his soaring vocals appearing as a constant throughout. In 2016, Glitter & Gold reached #1 in the UK Spotify Viral Charts, while it’s follow up Fire has to date been streamed more than 12,000,000 times on Spotify. Barnes featured at Radio 1’s Big Weekend, and has supported the likes of Blur and The Libertines on tour.
Barns Courtney has already experienced more highs and lows than most artists could wish to encounter in an entire lifetime. His is a story of family turmoil, bad record industry deals, homelessness, serendipitous meetings with movie moguls and sheer talent and hard work winning out against the odds. His voice has the texture of a senior citizen which belies his lack of years.
His music is a spectacular cacophony of sawing guitar and awesome lyrics. Glitter & Gold invites you to look into your soul to weigh and measure yourself; “Do you walk in the shadow of men who sold their lives to a dream?...Do you you ponder the manner of things?.....” Fire brings the theme from The film, “The Good the Bad and the Ugly” to mind, it is a superb mix of styles. Hands evokes some glam rock magnificence, the guitar is spectacular, bringing echoes of Oasis with it. For me, without doubt the standout track is Hobo Rocket, beginning with some sampled dialogue from the nicotine stained Hobo, before the music slams into you ears. It blends rap and rock and roll with some delicious unfinished rhymes which simply demand to be shouted into the void Barns so cleverly leaves hanging.
Barns Courtney will be in the UK to play 2 dates in 2018. He’s playing in Bristol on the 24th February and Oxford on the 26th February. I will be in Bristol as a matter of priority. This is the best new act I have heard in a long time I have every intention of enjoying his live performance regularly from now on.
Review by Pete Yeomans