Single Review: Barns Courtney – Sinners

By on Tuesday, 13th February 2018 at 12:00 pm

Barns Courtney Sinners singleIncorrigible alt-rocker Barns Courtney has paired up with an equally incorrigible partner-in-crime, Carl Barat (of The Libertines and Carl Barat and the Jackals fame), for what seems on first glance like it should be a bad-boy match made in heaven (or perhaps . . . somewhere else?). The two have co-written a rather aptly titled new single called ‘Sinners’ to follow up on Courtney’s excellent debut album ‘The Attractions of Youth’. Where the songs on ‘The Attractions of Youth’ seethe with youthful angst and energy, ‘Sinners’ takes a slightly heavier and noticeably more jaded tone, which is almost certainly attributable to Barat’s contribution.

The deep blues rock feel of the musical setting is exactly what you’d expect from this collaboration, but Courtney’s vocal delivery almost immediately stands out as special. His voice is strategically raw and dark in the song’s opening lines “fortune, fortune, smiling fate / I haven’t seen you much of late / need you now and cannot wait”. That spiteful sneer twists into a bitter, beaten down growl in the second verse, where he sings of “drinking gin and dropping lines / wasting beats of this heart of mine”.

Unfortunately, the chorus refrain of ‘Sinners’ doesn’t quite deliver on the dramatic promise in its verses. Rather, the chorus feels hastily thrown together, with liberal “yeahhhhs” rounding out the rhythms where words apparently failed. “I must be good for something”, Courtney moans, presumably searching for something more than “dancing on cold feet [and] marching on cobbled streets”. He doesn’t quite find it in ‘Sinners’, but the track will serve well enough to hold off the hordes of madding fans demanding something new from him after the whirlwind success of ‘The Attractions of Youth’. If you’re among that number, take a listen to ‘Sinners’ just below.


‘Sinners’ is out now on Virgin EMI. Our complete previous coverage of Barns Courtney, including a cheeky interview at SXSW 2016 is collected right through here.

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