Two years after their last studio album Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me won the hearts of pop lovers and critics around the world, The Lucksmiths return with Naturaliste. The highly anticipated new record confirms the reputation of this Melbourne band, offering eleven examples of instantly memorable indie pop music to win you all over again.
All The Lucksmiths’ hallmarks are here – an ear for melody, an eye for detail and a way with words. And again all three members contribute songs. But stepping away from the increasing orchestration of their recent work, the guitar-based Naturaliste demonstrates a sensibility of understatement and restraint that allows these songs to shine. This is at once The Lucksmiths’ most assured and cohesive work so far, from the effortless guitar jangle of “Take This Lying Down” and opener “Camera-Shy” to the gentle yearnings of “The Perfect Crime” and “What You’ll Miss”; from the late-night melancholy of “Stayaway Stars” and “What Passes For Silence” to the sunny melody of “Midweek Midmorning”, their single of late last year praised as “a fragile gem”, “the kind of pop moment that will remind you why you fell in love with music in the first place”.
Naturaliste continues The Lucksmiths’ collaboration with producer Craig Pilkington, who contributed brass arrangements and shared lead guitar duties with bass player Mark Monnone. As you’d expect with such popular fellows, other friends dropped into Richmond’s Audrey Studios: Eva Sommerfeld (The Foots) lends her voice to the mesmeric “The Sandringham Line”, and transpacific tourmates The Salteens lend theirs to “Stayaway Stars”.
The Lucksmiths’ fifth studio album in a decade is also their finest hour. Naturaliste represents reassurance that pop music can be affecting rather than affected, and further evidence, were it needed, of why “if there is to be a way back to world domination for melodic intelligent pop – The Lucksmiths are likely to be in the vanguard.