The Lucksmiths – Naturaliste

The Lucksmiths
Naturaliste

The Lucksmiths have been together for almost 10 years now, and in the span of that time, the band’s sound has not changed significantly. That is not necessarily a bad thing considering that the Lucksmiths are one of the most consistently good pop bands around. The Lucksmiths create literate pop music that is sweet, but not sickeningly so. On the band’s latest release, Naturaliste, the music remains just as charming and gentle as before, but it steers toward a new, more mature direction.
The Lucksmiths are generally known for creating happy-go-lucky pop tunes, something akin to Belle and Sebastian in the band’s happiest, poppiest moments sans the orchestral aspect. Naturaliste contains a few trademark upbeat Lucksmithesque numbers, but the overall tone of the album is a bit sadder and older than before.
“Camera-Shy” is a classic Lucksmiths pop tune and serves as a perfect opener to the album. This song contains Marty Donald’s jangly guitar, Mark Monnone’s melodic basslines, Tali’s upbeat drumming and lovely vocals singing about being camera-shy, but with implied complications like feelings of awkwardness and anxiety in relationships. On the surface this track is a bubbly Lucksmiths song similar in feel to “T-shirt Weather,” but this song has a bit more depth than the usual feel-good Lucksmiths single.
“The Sandringham Line” probably sums up the feel of this album the best when Tali White resigningly croons “Every now and then, she misses horses / We’re too young for regrets / Surely we’re too young for regrets.” “Midweek Morning” is the obvious single, being the most upbeat, optimistic song on this album and references to good weather. “We ought to spend today together / You might be less than overjoyed / But I refuse to waste this weather.”
While staple Lucksmiths song images contain references to pleasant weather, (such as a previous single “T-shirt Weather”), the weather on Naturaliste changes into cold winter, reflecting growth and disappointment. In this album, relationships are not perfect, and the band’s music reflects this change. An important aspect of Naturaliste is that the band is not as naive about love as in its previous offerings. “Stayaway Stars” is a lovely and earnest song that realizes that love is imperfect and recognizes that there are problems. The lyrics reflect disappointment: “What sorry sights / We sometimes are / These sameshit nights / Under stayaway stars.”
Naturaliste does not contain as many cheery Lucksmiths songs as previous albums, but it is a natural step forward for the band, and as might be expected, it does not disappoint.