Melbourne's The Lucksmiths have been making jaunty, jangly pop records like it's 1986 since... well, 1993 actually. In that time, despite commercial success having eluded them in favour of the usual conveyor belt of dross that sounds alike and sells by the bucketload, the Lucksmiths have released a consistent stream of records that basically eschews what they want to do rather than what Mr X, Y or double-barrelled Z record executive would whole-heartedly expect of them.
Warmer Corners is their ninth long player to date, and whilst it may not re-discover the process for combining words and a melody, it contains more than enough tunes to keep even the most adventurous post-rock whore at ease for the coming winter months (at least). It is also their first record to feature new guitarist Louis Richter, and whilst that doesn't mean one should expect a diversion up the 'Highway To Hell', it does ensure that the likes of 'Sunlight In A Jar' and 'The Music Next Door' find themselves beefed up to the point where in Old Testament times they would have been prime candidates for the slaughter.
The Lucksmiths' main charm lies around the lyrical simplicities of Tali White and Marty Donald, and on the winsome 'If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now', or the poignant 'The Chapter In Your Life Entitled San Francisco', where White makes the belated plea, "Are you ever coming home, or should I learn to live without you?", The Lucksmiths offer a 21st Century remedy to those whose adolescence was spent listening to Morrissey and Marr without ever getting over the initial anguish of their more heartbreaking fables.
Not that all of Warmer Corners covers the dark recesses of misery and regret, as 'Young And Dumb' relives White, Donald et al's past through the eyes of a teenager ("the best things happen when you don't know what's going on...") and 'The Fog Of Trujillo' is a big, brass-laden epic that recalls Dexy's Midnight Runners and The Style Council in all their glory, whilst reminding the likes of The Ordinary Boys that this kind of thing can be done without sounding like an ill-fitting comedy trouser-leg pastiche if sprinkled with a little intelligence and sincerity.
All in all, Warmer Corners is a timely reminder that the art of songwriting hasn't died - it just goes away and hibernates in the Adelaide Hills every so often.
7Dom Gourlay's Score