The Attractions Of Youth is a zealous debut album from Anglo-American songwriter Barns Courtney. At 26 he's already experienced family turmoil, homelessness and shitty record deals but his talent and tenacity have prevailed. The release of a handful of singles was enough to kickstart Courtney's reinvention and just like his Spotify #1 track, Barnes Courtney has indeed risen like Glitter & Gold.
Fire is the very incendiary track that propels the album with specklings of outlaw indie rock and brims with provocative melodies and an abundance of rhythm. In the style of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and modern troubadours like Rag and Bone Man, the American tinged elements of Courtney's music can be felt right from the opening. He's also an adept balladeer and exposes his emotions on songs like Golden Dandelions and the acutely moving Goodbye John Smith.
Courtney's seductive vocals alternate from a hypnotic bass to a powerful upper range that sucks you in. Placed alongside the melody line is a meticulous attention to rhythm, which is referenced in the hip-hop inspired Hobo Rocket where he states with youthful swagger 'I still got rhythm if I don't get paid...' The album takes a shift in direction after Hobo Rocket and its subsequent interlude. The melancholic overtones move towards more rockier and embellished sound. I'd Rather Die shakes the album up with a heavier tone and Kicks demonstrates a defiance that we have grown to love in bands like Kings of Leon. The themes of hedonistic, insouciant and 'pretty reckless' younger days sit alongside a story of love, self-belief and growing maturity with ease.
The songs on the album act like mini-chapters that take us on a journey telling us stories of love, loss, shedding skins, getting knocked down and moving forwards. They are also a sardonic reminder that the ups and downs of youth may be attractive, but the grass isn't always greener.
Groupie Rating 4/5