Acoustic Sounds

Courtney Barnett

End of the Day (Music from The Film ‘Anonymous Club’)



Label: Milk Records

Produced By: Courtney Barnett and Stella Mozgawa

Engineered By: Guus Hoevenaars

Mixed By: Callum Barter

Mastered By: Heba Kadry

By: Dylan Peggin

October 2nd, 2023



Courtney Barnett Gets Cinematic with “End of the Day”

Australia’s leading female indie rocker explores the realm of film scores

Over the past decade Courtney Barnett has become a leading female figure in indie music. Hailing from the city of Melbourne, her artistry knits together a witty stream-of-consciousness lyrical approach paired with the musical edge of 90s grunge to make a sound that’s very much her own. Barnett’s first two full-length efforts, 2015’s Sometimes I Sit, and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit and 2018’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, have a raucous bite to them. The softer singer-songwriter sensibilities appeared on 2019’s Things Take Time, Take Time. Some of the other exciting detours from her mainline output were a collaboration album with Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice, and a live album documenting her appearance on MTV Unplugged.

Barnett’s career recently became the focal point of Anonymous Club, a documentary directed by Danny Cohen. While it shines a light on her creative process, it also magnifies her personal insecurities and how she grapples with fame. Destined to be “the antithesis of a rock biography,” it is one of the most honest depictions of an artist captured on glorious 16mm film. The score consists of improvisations by Courtney and frequent collaborator Stella Mozgawa of the band Warpaint. These improvisations became reworked to resemble a cohesive soundtrack album, End of the Day.

Across the span of forty minutes are seventeen instrumental passages consisting of arpeggiated guitars soaked in reverb backed with synthesizer drones. The tone of the record is melancholic, perhaps representing Courtney’s raw emotions shown in the film. Nonetheless it retains an element of beauty that makes it possible to listen with the lights off and get lost in the music. Pieces like “Life Balance,” “A to B” and the title track feature Courtney’s signature style of bending guitars with a twangy twist.

These moments where her guitar dominates the arrangement provide plenty of yearnful ambiance. Stella Mozgawa’s synthesizer contributions are most crucial. Whether it’s a dissonant chord loop in “Two Circles Reflecting” or the sound of wine glasses in “Goldroom,” they are ethereal beds of sound upon which the given improvisation can build. The tonality of the record is consistent until pieces like “Floating Down” and “Sun Through” provide some musical drama that deviates from the tranquil course in which the album tends to steer. The moments of tension resolve with “Spring Ascends” and the beautifully uplifting “Get On With It.” 

The album cover, consisting of a 16mm frame of tourists in blue ponchos lined up to board the Maid of the Mist boat in Niagara Falls, fits exceptionally well with the aesthetic of the score. The printed inner sleeve depicts a doodle rendering of the album art with the credits on the flip side. Due to the vinyl formulation, the indie exclusive milky clear pressing sounds noisier to my ears, but doesn’t take too much away from the enjoyment of the music. 

One of GZ Vinyl's anonymous lacquer cutters brought Heba Kadry’s digital mastering to life in the grooves. The guitar tone is best described as being “full-bodied,” where all areas of the audible frequency spectrum are utilized. The moments where the bottom end makes the ground vibrate are when the synthesizers provide the power, particularly during the crescendo of “Intro.” 

An instrumental soundtrack album is off the beaten path for a musician who has established her wheelhouse elsewhere, but it does doesn't discount the artistic bravery of End of the Day. Older staples like “Elevator Operator” and “Need a Little Time” can co-exist with instrumental nuggets “Like Water” and “River.” Listeners who enjoy the ambient soundscapes David Bowie crafted with Brian Eno on the albums mistakenly called “the Berlin Trilogy,”may feast their ears here. Though most likely not intended to be the follow-up to Things Take Time, Take Time, a soundtrack excursion can be likened to when Pink Floyd sandwiched the More soundtrack in between the albums  A Saucerful of Secrets and Ummagumma. At the end of the day (no pun intended), it makes Courtney Barnett’s body of work more intriguing.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: Milk077

Pressing Plant: GZ Vinyl

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 140 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP