As the story goes, Courtney Barnett, the Australian singer known for her sarcastic wit, and Kurt Vile, former guitarist of Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs, met each other on the music festival circuit. As they talked about their taste in indie rock music in their drowsy, mumbling voices, they felt like they found their soulmates. They began to exchange songs written for each other and, last week, finally released an album together titled “Lotta Sea Lice.” The story of Courtney and Kurt seems like the tired plot of a romantic comedy — although they are not actually dating each other. But their new album is a masterpiece full of fantastic stories and nonsensical dialogues between the two artists.

Barnett and Vile’s songs are different from typical collaborative songs between male and female singers, which tend to be filled with either dramatic breakups or variations of “I love you.” The artists paint vivid scenes together and depict their strong connections as musicians. “Only Everything,” which Vile wrote for Barnett when he first suggested collaboration, is a perfect example of such unique representation of their partnership. The artists sing about their love of “high pitched ring,” “high decibels” and the beautiful scenery, with “hair-flag waving,” that makes them forget about their troubles. Those details tell the audience about each artist’s respect for the other’s musical sensibilities rather than simply repeating phrases about desire and heartbreak. The song becomes more genuine and appealing because the collaboration is based on true feelings.

The unexpected twists in the lyrics of the songs also make the album unconventional. Like most of the songs in the album, “Let It Go” begins like an awkward and superficial conversation between strangers. Barnett starts with the kind of question that we ask when we meet a stranger and can’t think of any topic to start a conversation: “What time do you usually wake up?” But the song becomes more than just a mundane encounter as the artists jump from talking about their routine to “technicolor rainbow horror sweet dreams.” They do it without changing the tone of their voices, as if juxtaposing the words “horror” and “sweet” is normal. As we try to find the connection between “Eastern standard open G” and “Salty water curls my hair,” we feel like we are eavesdropping on a conversation between aliens who speak our language but do not have our common sense. With the unexpected flow of the conversation, we try to make sense of the lyrics and guess what will come out next. We interact more actively with the song, unlike when we listen to romantic comedy soundtracks, knowing what will happen next.

Each song’s unique narrative prevents the album from slipping into boredom. The song “Blue Cheese” might have turned out to be a common breakup story, beginning its narrative with a guy meeting a girl named Tina who “suppl[ies] reeferina.” However, it skips all the intermediate details about the romance and conflicts and jumps to the guy “calling the cops on” her. The song does not have any information about who the guy is and what made him report Tina to the police. But it is like an unfinished detective story for the audience to have fun filling in the missing plot and details. With such an unusual way to tell what could have been a tragic but a commonplace movie romance, the artists surprise and impress us again.

While building such fantasy worlds through their lyrics together, the artists maintain their characteristics as musicians; Barnett lists nonsensical sentences in her typically sardonic fashion, while Vile sings in his usual murmuring voice. However, the artists do not hesitate to try different styles with their guitars, ranging from “Blue Cheese,” which echoes country music, to “Fear Is Like a Forest,” which resembles dreamy, psychedelic rock. In doing so, the artists perfectly meld their characteristics into a new musical style.

The songs in “Lotta Sea Lice” begin with common narratives and dialogues that we might overhear at a café or a subway station. But Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile never disappoint us with their creative twists in these stories and conversations. The album is a strange and colorful work that intertwines the musical styles and personalities of two very distinct artists.