Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2010: Number 20

Lucky Soul already looked the part, one blonde bombshell in a little black dress and five blokes in suits behind. They play the part too. Simultaneously our most dispiriting and joyous night out of the year was watching them play a spectacular set, tight on the button without sacrificing any of the swooning soul revue charge of their recordings, in front of eight paying customers. Triumph in adversity indeed, but then that's what Lucky Soul do, both in life - songwriter Andrew Laidlaw ended up dossing in the band's rehearsal space - and in their matching heartbreak with glorious retro girl pop melody.

Born out of determination to prove their own ground in terms of pop melodies with a hint of Sixties pizzazz dragged through assorted stylistic nods and a great dollop of self-controlled production gleam, A Coming Of Age feels glossier than The Great Unwanted. Much as we're becoming overfed with jaunty melodies against downbeat lyrics, mind, it's an album designed as much for the dancefloor as the heart, more so than its predecessor. It's oresent in the two singles, the huge glam Stax and quadrillion hooks of Woah Billy! and the Smiths-in-Motown of White Russian Doll. Their command of brittle but huge balladry has been equally refined, as with the title track's three minute Bond theme strings and Could Be I Don't Belong Anywhere's cinematic, grandstanding sway. There's also new sounds in Love³'s approximation of Booker T & the MG's working the Grand Ol' Opry and Upon Hilly Fields' countrified vibrato with twanging guitar solo to go. Second time around they take melodrama into places of autumnal sophistication which isn't so much post-modern pastiche as reshaping the influences that others might wear more openly. This is no band restricting themselves to indie ambitions, which might wrongfoot with its renewed slickness at first but could ultimately never be held down to revival fashion.


Whoa Billy!

The full list

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