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!