BARNS COURTNEY // “404” – ALBUM REVIEW
The English Rock Singer-Songwriter known for his Punk-Rock swagger Barns Courtney has released his subsequent studio album titled 404. Anyone familiar with the internet will instantly recognize the album title, as 404 is what you get when you encounter nothing online. On this record, he implements the term (AKA error pages) to explore feelings of loss in one’s life. The opener Hollow undoubtedly sets the tone for the record it’s a fun Dance-Rock number set against pensive and sad lyrics. If Hollow is 404s topic sentence using pumping beats, hard-hitting guitars, drums, and lyric imagery then tracks like You and I and 99 are the thesis statements. Both were major hits for Barns and are the center focus on 404. You and I encapsulate modern youth culture vibes, while 99 is a mid-tempo nostalgic number about being a child of the ‘90s and loss of innocence. Both records are perfect to sing-along to with precisely enough of a punk edge. Loud, brash electric guitars and bombastic drums make up the most of this record, but other instruments such as acoustic guitar are loud and clear. Acoustic guitar Taking front and center on 99 and the slightly trite London Girls. The latter track being as frenetic and wild as the girls he’s referencing within the song. Influences such as Folk-Rock and Singer-Songwriter you can hear upfront in the bouncy and jovial Fun Never Ends. The grittiness in his voice maintains this collection of tunes. There’s a particular soulfulness found within his gritty vocals. You’ll hear it distinctly on Boy Like Me, and in a more toned-down form on The Kids Are Alright. Both tracks are where he delves into the problems of contemporary life, love, and relationships. Castaway has heavy synths and drums that give the song an underlying murkiness. Hints of it carrying on to the following track Babylon. While Babylon is not the most original track the addition of tinny synths, repeated claps, and sing-song lyric guarantee it to be a crowd favorite. The album ends on Cannonball a song that’s a slow burn and oddly the most soulful overall. Courtney’s use of the vocoder adds to the mysterious and desolate feel of the track with him echoing “I’m hopeless I’m lost,” even imploring the listener.