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The Lucksmiths : Where Were We?

REVIEW: Lucksmiths: Where Were We?
4.22.2002 by Sean

The Lucksmiths: Where Were We? [Candle Records, 2002]

Three words? Not good enough.

As the world seems to be falling down around our ears, it's satisfying to see that there can still be whimsical pop music. Where Were We?, like 1999's Happy Secret, is a disc of previously released Lucksmiths material that has never been assembled on one LP. Singles, EPs and compilation tracks contribute to this forty-minute excursion into Australian acoustic pop. The trio continues to perform effortlessly enthusiastic, well-written songs, inhabiting the grey zone between Gordon-style Barenaked Ladies and Glasgow's Belle and Sebastian. Infused with no small dose of Australian sunshine, the Lucksmiths embody the pop that it's okay to like - the sort of smart, smiling songs that brought the Beatles their initial fame.

Unfortunately, due to the 'compilation' nature of Where Were We?, its songs are sonically and creatively inconsistent. The bouncing, giddy "T-Shirt Weather" maintains its brisk pace with tambourine sashay and the Lucksmiths' ever-groovy bassline, filling every available moment with harmonizing "ahhh"s. "I Prefer the Twentieth Century", on the other hand, ignores any potential for catchy melody or vivid imagery, instead dragging its heels towards an eventual conclusion. When Tali White sings "For now I'm merely bored / And for a matter of fact, who isn't?", he's right.

Although Where Were We? is a pleasant look at the sort of sound the Lucksmiths make - and it's certainly a pleasingly distracting summer vibe - its quality is several orders of magnitude away from 2001's outstanding Why That Doesn't Surprise Me. Schizophrenic odds and ends simply don't measure up to the band's potential; too few of these songs stand out, and too many disappoint.

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