Finally we’ve crawled to the end of the letter L… and all those Lucksmiths albums. It’s been a long arduous journey. We started back on January 1. Forty or so reviews in 6½ months isn’t very impressive is it? But that did span several countries. It also spanned the usual diverse range of artists. Looking at the resultant rankings, it would seem lighter indie pop won out, although soulfulness is as valued as always…
- Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray”
- The Lucksmiths – “What Bird Is That?”
- The Lucksmiths – “Happy Secret”
- Bettye Lavette – “I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise”
- The Lucksmiths – “A Good Kind of Nervous”
- The Lucksmiths – “Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me“
- The Lucksmiths – “The Green Bicycle Case”
- Bettye Lavette – “The Scene of the Crime”
- The La’s – “The La’s”
- Love Me – “Love Me”
- The Lemonheads – “Come on Feel the Lemonheads”
- LCD Soundsystem – “LCD Soundsystem”
- The Liquor Giants – “The Liquor Giants”
- Ray Lamontagne – “Till the Sun Turns Black”
- Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin IV”
As has become tradition, here’s a “L” track that didn’t get a review, but is an old fave of mine:
Thus my short Love Me Fest hits the home straight (and I gird my loins for perhaps the most harrowing (for you my dear reader) extended run of albums from one artist).
This third album has served as a lovely, mellow backdrop to my afternoon of slowly working through a rather drawn out rewrite of a section of an academic paper.
It has performed this role so admirably simply because it is unintrusive, consistent and smoothly produced. The slide guitar has returned, bringing with it a gentle swaying feel, that snuggles up to the cowgirl singers nicely (and the smoker’s voice of Amanda benefits considerably).
The male vocals are much less Go-Betweens-Lite, instead successfully ploughing melancholy depths on tracks like Stubbs Terrace (although it weirdly seems to be about former Labor minister John Button – perhaps it’s some obscure peaen to his tariff reforms in the auto industry).
As a pretty fully versed Love Me scholar, I’d label this album as their slightly blue period. I wonder if I should chase up their album #4 (simply because it IS purchasable). Perhaps they embraced cubism…
File under: At least you can search for this title on Google
This bloody band really weren’t thinking about their subsequent searchability with their very generic choice of name and album titles.
It’s a shame anonymity has been thrust upon these guys, especially in light of their outstanding debut.
This follow-up doesn’t quite cut it, however, and might as well be judged by its messy and ugly album cover.
The band tone down the twang on this CD. My preferred vocalist, Madeline, seems to get less airtime (and no particularly gripping tunes). The smoky voice of Mandy doesn’t do it for me, while the dude’s efforts tend to grate (most noticeably on Chestnut Mare, although said track is also the catchiest on here).
There are a few nice moments of violin, but this album somehow sounds more dated than its predecessor, especially in its evocation of all things Go Betweens whenever Tom grabs the mike. That shouldn’t be a bad thing in and of itself, but on tracks like Halfway Heart and Empty Taxi it does just all feel like a second-rate substitute.
I just looked it up and realised Amanda Brown (the wielder of the violin among other string instruments on here) is indeed the Go-Between of said name. But that doesn’t justify the homage.
File under: Lacks spark
This act ranks right up there in terms of obscurity. Their decidedly non-Googlable moniker renders them pretty much invisible in the cyber world, and there are no sound files or clips that I can find.
What I do know is that the Sydney band featured three vocalists, that on this 1996 album Dave Orwell from Golden Rough was a fulltime member (but, oddly, not a vocalist), and that Tim Rogers was producer. Oh, and that I own their first three albums.
I’m thinking that these guys are also cursing their timing. They were onto the whole silky-smooth alt-country schtick a good decade before The Audreys. Several tracks on here, such as on the wonderful Dorothea McKellar-adapting Buy Me A Drink and Slipping Asleep, could easily have appeared on the Audreys’ first couple of albums (and would have improved them).
Of the vocalists, Madeleine King has the most mesmerising effect (I think… or is that Mandy Pearson? – damn you iTunes for your lack of liner notes), while the shift between male and female voices works wonderfully.
I have no idea where you could find a copy of this album… but you should try to. It’s a true nugget of gold-plated harmonica, slide guitar and wistful warm afternoon wonder.
File under: A many splendored thing
Posted in L, Oz Artists
Tagged album, album review, Australian music, CD review, Golden Rough, Love Me, Madeleine King, Mandy Pearson, music, music review, The Audreys, Tim Rogers