Track Review – Shivers / Courtney Barnett (Rowland S. Howard cover)

Courtney Barnett’s debut this year showed her talent as a wordsmith and a songwriter. Her debut Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit was a solid collection of garage-rock tunes and brought her music to the wider world with songs like ‘Pedestrian At Best’ and ‘Depression’. However, she’s covered Rowland S. Howard’s ‘Shivers’ at Jack White’s Third Man song factory and it’s a match made in heaven. The song sounds dusty and old; Courtney’s vocals lingering in the background with a touch of reverb but the instruments – especially the guitars – are recorded perfectly. Those guitars clunk away in a southern blues-rock tone that sounds ageless and could have appeared in some kind of slow-burning 60s rock song. Courtney’s deadpan vocals don’t fit the emotional heft of the song, but the respect for the original is definitely there.