Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Lucksmiths - First Frost (Fortuna Pop!)


I'd heard some horrible blasphemous rumours about this album at the end of last year, about it being all "rock", and having "guitar solos". Cuh, I say to them. Cuh.

The fact that this is yet another treasure of a Lucksmiths album shouldn't be a surprise to the righteous, of course, but it's a surprise just how good it is.

Apparently, it's a bit of concept album. Run to the hills! Then come back again. Because this album is all about the countryside vs the city. And not in "lets go and hunt some little foxes way!", I hope you understand. And it looks from the sleeve like a log cabin the middle of nowhere has triumphed.
Beautiful packaging leads to beautiful songs. "Good Light" might be the sound of Lucksmiths yore, but so what? If it ain't fixed carry on using it anyway, as the old saying goes. The song features some wonderful self-pitying lyrics, and we all need to wallow sometimes, don't we?

"California Popular Song" seems again to champion the countryside - or at least warns against the lure of the big city, with the almost ridiculously sad lyric: "Your eyes are bright with wine/And, oh, so are mine."

I think I can honestly say that I've never really 'connected' with many Lucksmiths lyrics before... until now. I've usually liked their songs for their jangly effervescence, or the fact that they're just the sort of quaint stuff that makes a 30-something feel at ease with singing at the top of his voice in a nightclub. But on First Frost nearly every song screams: "This is you, you lummox!" And isn't that a wonderful thing when you think that sort of thing left you when you were 15 and listening to Meat is Murder in a dark room with only a candle for company?

And just when I think I've found the song that saved my life - in this case the National Mitten Registry - it turns out it's been written from the perspective of the woolly hand garment. Denied!

But take this immeasurably great album however you want to. It's going to get me to work and back again through the remaining winter months. Take that, mitten!

10 comments:

jennifer said...

Well this is such a genuine review that it has made me want to listen to the album again! I have listened to it just once or twice since getting it, what, a month or two ago? It sounded quite dull to me and I haven't given it another listen since. I think I should do now.

Dennis said...

What Jennifer says is true for me for all of The Lucksmiths' efforts so far. Listened once or twice, concluded 'quite dull', didn't try again.

Everybody loves The Lucksmiths, don't they? Don't you? I feel like I'm missing out on something.

A layer of chips said...

I do love them, Dennis. There are certain Greek indiepop fans whose name begins with an 'M' who don't like them, though. But they are under rehabilitation as we speak.

I don't think it's the least immediate album they've done, but that's sort of why I like it. Also, it's a real winter album. Or a night in alone album, I think. You should definitely try it again Jennifer.

A layer of chips said...

Gah. What I meant to say it that I think it IS the least immediate album they've done. Excuse me - I have a mild hangover.

jennifer said...

Dennis, have you ever seen the Lucksmiths live? That was what convinced me of their genuine brilliance. I thought they were only OK before I first saw them live in 2003.

Maybe because they are so consistent and their sound can be kind of quiet, they are not a band to reach out and grab you. But they write a lot of really lyrically meaningful songs with tender sounds.

However, I don't think First Frost would be the album to win you over about them.

A layer of chips said...

I think Jennifer's right, Dennis. Live they're amazing. I saw them with Hefner a few years back and that was the best gig!

You should buy Where Were We? as a good introduction to the band.

Dennis said...

I haven't seen them live no. I've just, ehm, 'found' some more of their albums, so I'll give them another fair try.

Sam, what are you doing up so early on a Sunday?

A layer of chips said...

I'm doing some freelance writing. Today I am writing 1000 word articles on the Food Ingredients industry, Food processing, and the food import and export market. It doesn't get much better than that, I'm sure you'll agree.

Pete Green said...

I'm with Dennis and 'M'. Too bloody clever for their own good.

A layer of chips said...

Yeah, but you like Town Bike.