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Sodastream | A Minor Revival (Lo-Max)
Karl Smith and Pete Cohen (aka Sodastream) return with thirteen more examples of their wistful, charming way with a song. Augmented by Machine Translations' J. Walker, who adds colour via keyboards, viola and a little slide guitar, and the underemployed Marty Brown of Art of Fighting on drums, 'A Minor Revival' (see what they did there?) is both more of the same from the Melbourne duo and a fresh start. After an EP and two albums on London's Tugboat Records, this is their first for the newly formed Lo-Max who, with the Marshmallow record reviewed elsewhere, have announced their arrival not so much with a bang as an inquisitive tap at your door.
Taken individually these songs appear as lovingly crafted, understated exercises in pop craft, intimate and natural-sounding, like a private peformance for one. The likes of Blinky, Nervous and Undone even raise the tempo to lively, whilst remaining unlikely to bother the neighbours. Much in common with its predecessors, 'Looks Like A Russian' and 'The Hill For Company', however, 'A Minor Revival''s failure to engage long-term means a tendency to drift is almost an inevitability. Despite this reservation, there is much to enjoy here, particularly when dipped into at random. The lilting country-lite of Otherwise Open or the piano-led jaunt of Nervous, for instance, certainly add vibrancy to their traditional watercolour hues.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003

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