Tag Archives: first frost

The Lucksmiths – First Frost

The Lucksmiths – First Frost (Fortuna POP!)

 The Lucksmiths

Melbourne’s The Lucksmiths are a band to whom, by now, the phrase ‘return to form’ means nothing at all. If your ‘form’, such as it is, means consistently churning out breezy indie-pop intricacies and curios over the course of eleven LPs with a gradually rising bar of quality, then your ‘form’ such as it is cannot possibly be returned to. The tendency among commentators is to assert journalistic authority and say “No! Truly, this is the finest Lucksmiths LP so far,” whenever one is released. As it stands, First Frost probably isn’t their finest, but that means nothing when your ‘form’, such as it is – you understand.

There are musical elements that mark something of a small explosion for the band. Louis Richter is finally felt on the guitar and makes excellent melodic contributions throughout, implicitly adding another line to the mix with surprisingly far-reaching results (hear his mournful, sweet plod on The National Mitten Registry). The extra instrumental arrangements have also reached a new level of crisp accomplishment, particularly demonstrable on the opening The Town And Hills (incidentally a Richter-penned number). After waiting for almost too long, the simplistic guitars open up into a cascading collection of horns and strings too pretty to render the first half of the song frustrating. Neat trick.

Because it’s a Lucksmiths record, there’s a great deal of lyrical bite to explore too, often the gift of Marty Donald. The drawn-out rhyme scheme and elaborate story of A Sobering Thought is impressive, but some of the gloopier moments show a slightly more wistful bent – perhaps more than before. Pines is seasonal duality, sleepy sentiment and its perfect musical accompaniment, and a lovely moment among many.

The sleeve and inlay are pure cutesy understatement – various ranch-like scenes of the band at work and play. This affords the listener a strange connection with First Frost. We see The Lucksmiths in absolutely no danger, no rush and with no pressures whatever. These, you might argue, are conditions not best suited to ripping studio sessions, but they provide a rare accompaniment. Leafy vistas in both scene and lyric mirror the music itself with fine taste. But that’s their form, as we’ve discussed. Contented authors, muted discomfort in the lyrics, subtle tweaks of musical formulae; The Lucksmiths have done it again and created their finest LP so far, you might say.

First Frost comes out in early December – visit the band here.

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The Lucksmiths – Up With The Sun/A Sobering Thought

The Lucksmiths – Up With The Sun/A Sobering Thought (Just When One Was Needed) (Fortuna Pop!)

 

Decently, Australia’s The Lucksmiths have elected to make this taster of their forthcoming First Frost LP (their eleventh) a free download. This is a very good deal. Neither of these songs challenges what you might expect to hear from The Lucksmiths, but the odd tweak to their indie-pop formula manages to keep things entertaining enough. More than entertaining enough, actually.

Built, as they so frequently are, around Marty Donald’s ingenious lyrical conceits, his knowledge of language and gentle strumming, both songs are evidence enough of the band’s inclusion in the indie-pop hall of fame alongside Belle & Sebastian and every other band they’re always mentioned in the same sentence as. Do some research, you’ll get it. Up With The Sun begins as a typically bouncy jaunt, but Louis Richter is now showing amply the worthiness of his recent inclusion in the group. His fuzzed guitar gives the song not only another melodic line, but some very welcome texture, noise and, at points, the kind of shoegazing rumbles that you never knew were missing from the band’s sound.

A Sobering Thought (Just When One Was Needed) may be quieter, but it’s no less well-designed and evolutionary (for an indie-pop band). Bouncier and beautifuller than the A-side, its contemplative nature is summarised by the sweet imagery we’re shown. Bottles on the floor, sunlight under the door, it’s the morning we’ve all cared not to remember. Trust The Lucksmiths to employ the oldest and best twee (sorry…) trick in the book and counterbalance lyrical embarrassment with musical prettiness.

Visit their MySpace here and listen to the B-side. These tracks will be available for free download on November 10th, probably from their website. Win! Check back next week for a review of the new album.

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