In 2017, Barns Courtney released his debut album, “The Attractions of Youth.” Immediately, it became my favorite album of that year. The first album spoke a narrative of someone maintaining their youth as they grew older. Backed by killer instrumentals and Courtney’s powerful voice, it’d be difficult to reach the same bar of this five star album.
So now in 2019, Courtney released his second album, “404,” and in all ways that matter, he has produced a successful follow up. Knowing the story that “The Attractions of Youth” told, “404” is the sequel to that story and paints a picture of that same someone still attempting to hold onto their childhood, but they’re now older, and in denial of their responsibilities. Hence why I believe the title to be “404,” as our protagonist saying there is some sort of error.
Accompanying this story are instrumentals more unique than the previous album. For Courtney’s second album he is obviously experimenting, blending the regular guitar and drums with different kinds of synthetic components that all blend together masterfully. Each song is its own individual experience; no song sounds like another. The flaw that comes with this, however, is that it makes the album come off more like a mixtape or a collection of separate songs that happen to have the same singer and lyrical theme. There’s a stark contrast in several songs that’s prevalent enough to turn away some singers.