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The Lucksmiths | Why That Doesn't Surprise Me (Candle)
"You get away with murder cause you've got a way with words" sings Tali White on opener Music to Hold Hands To, an apt description of The Lucksmiths unfashionable brand of indie-pop. The clever clever wordplay that peppers this latest album (mostly the work of guitarist Marty Donald) keeps the listener engrossed while the bright and breezy backing lives in decades past. The jangly guitars and twangy basslines are as much Barenaked Ladies as The Smiths or The Housemartins, and perhaps more first album del Amitri than either. You won't find those references in many other reviews I suspect but then my aversion to all things twee steers me clear of much that could be considered comparable to The Lucksmiths' ilk. Fortunately Australia's hipper-than-hip Candle Records knows quality when it hears it (as evidenced by The Dearhunters, Jodi Phillis and Darren Hanlon in recent months), and their impressive roster of song-oriented acts provides proof that Australia's talent may dip into the history of British and American pop/rock but filters it with a home-grown freshness and admirable purity. All The Recipes I've Ever Ruined exemplifies the band's flair for the nostalgic; brooding horns and lazy piano set the scene as White mourns an absent love ("If these walls could speak / I'd ask them to please keep it down / It's the kitchen that frightens me most / My mistakes and your ghost hanging around.") Similarly accomplished lyricism abounds; likewise restrained and deft arrangements add splashes of colour and mood. All cynicism aside The Lucksmiths' tuneful confessionals and whimsical worldview shed some sunshine.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001

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