Thursday, April 26th, 2007
Add Your Light To Mine Baby
With the amount of new music I’m inundated with daily, it’s rare that something jumps out and grabs me by the ears at first listen – even rarer is when it turns out to be more than a brief infatuation and instead turns my musical world around. The Great Unwanted, the debut record from London’s Lucky Soul, has done just that.
You may recall my mentioning it a couple weeks ago and having been smitten by a couple of their singles via YouTube video. Well immediately thereafter I grabbed their four singles from eMusic and when those proved only to whet my appetite rather than satiate, I snagged the album at a rather dear price via eBay (CDWow didn’t have it yet) and you know what? Worth every penny, even though six of the album’s thirteen (fourteen if you count the hidden track) songs were on the aforementioned singles (making for three proper b-sides).
The six-piece outfit create, or more rather re-create, a retro yet timeless style of pop that draws on doo-wop, Motown, classic soul, Spector, Bacharach… basically everything good in the world. The band ably weaves the necessary musical tapestry, lush with horns and strings atop the requisite guitar, bass, drums and keys but it falls on singer Ali Howard to sell it and that she does. Oh does she ever. Besides the fact that she looks like you’d expect/hope she would, her voice is sweet, girlish and ebullient, yet capable of conveying sadness, regret and experience with heartbreak in the manner of the best soul singers. It looks, sounds and tastes like pure musical sugar but there’s a tinge of bitter to the sweet that makes it that much more addictive – believe me when I say that there’s far more than empty calories here. I’ve been living off it for days. And it doesn’t matter how many times you hear it, when Ali commands you to “shake, shake, shimmy”, by god you shake and shimmy.
But look at me, trying to convince you that there’s more to this record than just pop perfection. Fact is, even if it wasn’t a great album, even if their best stuff all went into the singles, Lucky Soul would still be getting my highest endorsement because the singles are just that good. So so so so good. And that they’re able to fill out a full-length album with material that’s just doesn’t let those stratospheric peaks down – on their debut no less – is unbelievable. This record is my happy place. It’s self-released on the band’s own Ruffa Lane label so who knows if it or the band will ever make it over to this continent? In the case of the record, CDWow is probably by far the best price you’re going to find so just go and buy it. In the case of the band… someone fly them over here. I’ll pay for some of it. I’m serious. Unless it’s really expensive, in which case you have my unwavering moral support.
Skatterbrain has a short interview with Ali while The Guardian also talked to guitarist Andrew Laidlaw in a piece about how the sound of new UK music sounds so much like old UK music. How Does It Feel? met with both Howard and Laidlaw for a drink at the pub and transcribed the whole thing. The band kept a blog during the three months of recording the album late last year and there’s also a couple of acoustic tracks available to download off their website.
Go buy this record.
MP3: Lucky Soul – “The Great Unwanted”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Lips Are Unhappy” (YouTube)
Video: Lucky Soul – “My Brittle Heart” (YouTube)
Video: Lucky Soul – “Add Your Light To Mine, Baby” (YouTube)
MySpace: Lucky Soul
The Pipettes, who may share some influences and style with Lucky Soul but from what little of their stuff I’ve heard can’t hold a finger to them, are returning to Toronto on June 1 for a show at Lee’s Palace. A considerably larger venue than the one that couldn’t hold their debacle of a CMW showcase back in March, but probably still won’t be big enough. Pitchfork has full North American tour dates and a couple of domestic record release dates – the Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me EP is out June 5 and the We Are Pipettes full-length is available August 28. This Is Nottingham talks to Rose of the Pipettes. I’m not sure which one she is – the one in the short dress?
And from polka dots to stripes, NME has Summer tour dates for The White Stripes. Following a jaunt across the Canadian tundra (check out dates in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) they’ll be in Toronto on July 5 at the Molson Amphitheatre.