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When Australia’s The Lucksmiths decided to throw in the towel last year, they left behind what will hopefully prove to be an enduring legacy of clever and charming indie-pop tunes. Having plied their trade for over a decade, the prolific trio (and eventual quartet) garnered a fervent cult following thanks to their lyrical smarts and disarmingly simple instrumentation.
Vocalist Tali White doubled as the band’s percussionist, playing a stripped down kit consisting of a snare, hi-hat, and tom drum, while the rest was filled in with one bass and one guitar. They took what might be viewed as a restrictive setup and continually utilized it to incredible effect, creating music which was by turns shimmering and melancholy but always fueled by witty turns of phrase and White’s honeyed croon.
(And here, dear reader, I pose an unusual imperative: if your music collection lacks some Lucksmiths, don’t hesitate–go pick up a copy of Where Were We? or Warmer Corners or Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me or, better yet, all three. Then come back here. I’ll wait.)
In addition to countless albums and EPs, the band has also left behind one final release: a 7″ released earlier this year by Matinee Recordings entitled Get-to-Bed Birds. The titular a-side offers up all of the hallmarks of the band’s sound–a jangly, bittersweet lilt that is a cousin to Belle & Sebastian and labelmates Lovejoy and Math and Physics Club (although The Lucksmiths predate them all).
On “Get-to-Bed Birds,” White perfectly encapsulates the conflicting feelings that each New Year’s Eve brings, opening the track with the plaintive “A shit year ends, I kiss my friends / We raise half-empty glasses / To the next one and the night wears on.” Hearing these words in action is pure poetry and guitarist Marty Donald gives them plenty of air to breathe.
I can count about a dozen bands worth loving and The Lucksmiths are certainly in that rarefied air. If “Get-to-Bed Birds” can help a few more people fall head over heels, then it’s done its job. The single works well as a final riposte from the band, too, concluding with this epitaph:
“And here I am, another year beginning / Half-way home with the get-to-bed birds singing.”