Friday 18 April 2014

The Lucksmiths - Warmer Corners vinyl issue

The opening line “The start is the hardest part” is a tacit nod that 2005’s Warmer Corners is the real follow up to the orchestrated pop, maudlin melody and straight-up pop hits of 2001’s Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me.

Between those 2 albums, Naturaliste found a harder and darker path. There’s no good reason to expect a band to make the same album twice, but what The Lucksmiths had done with Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me is write better songs, have better production and a bigger scope. It wasn’t unreasonable to expect Naturaliste to build on that.

Warmer Corners is The Lucksmiths returning to their UK influences – The Housemartins, Aztec Camera, The Wedding Present, Belle and Sebastian – and making an album of 10 (soaring, immense, searing, intense) pop songs and 2 ballads.

A musician on Twitter suggested to me that The Lucksmiths got worse when they ‘opened out’ the songwriting. I disagreed. Some of the best songs here aren’t by main songwriter Marty Donald. There’s Tali White’s Sunlight In A Jar which is knocked into shape by new member Louis Richter’s chiming Rickenbacker.

Louis is the Red Adair of the Melbourne indie scene. He drops into band line ups and gives them direction and musical flourish. The Lucksmiths didn’t need that – bassist Mark Monnone is widely regarded as the band’s best musician, not least by Louis – but the pace of Marty’s Putting It Off and Putting It Off is driven and then embellished by that Rickenbacker.

Warmer Corners is an album by a band of stars rather than a star and supporting cast. It’s hard to find fault with it, so I won’t try. It’s record store day tomorrow. The vinyl issue of Warmer Corners isn’t part of it. But it’s a bloody good reason to go to a record shop.

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