I love the Lucksmiths

I love the Lucksmiths and you should too.

I’m not sure if I can explain it because I don’t really like a lot of pretty sounding stuff. I used to. I used to be all into British pop and Paul was even my favorite Beatle at one time. But not anymore. Now I like dirty, noisy, passionate stuff that was played by a bunch of delinquent teenagers. Or stuff that sounds like that. I barely ever break out those Smiths albums that I worshipped in high school.

So it’s odd that I would fall for the Lucksmiths. Maybe it’s because I saw them live before I heard their albums. So I had a chance to see them do what they do before I got a chance to scoff at their pretty melodies and clever lyrics (far, far too clever to be considered hip, by my definition). But to see a three-piece playing in a coffee house so quietly that I had to strain to hear them was truly a refreshing concert experience after having my ear drums blown out by dozens of garage bands in smoky, obnoxious bars.

Their set up is unique, and I’m a sucker for that. The lead singer stands in front of a microphone and a snare drum with a tambourine duct taped to a hi hat, and plays with brushes. The other two play unaffected bass and guitar. Softly. Simple as that.

And they blew me away. Somehow, the clever lyrics didn’t seem too clever; they’re young and Australian after all. The songs were so nicely written and well-crafted that I had to set aside my cynicism and just listen (for once in my life). Lines such as, “She’s the opposite of coffee/ the last thing I need first thing in the morning,” jumped out and stuck with me for weeks.

While musically they could hardly be more dissimilar, they remind me of the young Who for some reason. It might just be because the guitar player has a big honker and writes all of the songs. And that the lead singer has those freaky, penetrating eyes. But they’ve got a kind of serious but self-deprecating attitude that wins you over. Call it Maximum Lullaby.

And now they’ve got a new album out called Why Doesn’t That Surprise Me, and it’s as pretty and soft and clever as ever. They do some interesting things with instrumentation this time around with songs that include strings, melodica, banjo, electric piano, horns, etc. It sometimes sounds lush but not overproduced or cheesy. It’s good and it’s worth hearing, but I’ve got a personal fixation with Happy Secret which I think everyone should own. You can download a song from an ep called “T-Shirt Weather” from their label’s website. It’s fairly representative of what the Lucksmiths are all about. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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