The Lucksmiths was an indie/twee pop band from Melbourne, Australia who released eleven albums between 1993 and 2009. They were known for the frequent, heavy, and unapologetic use of puns, clever wordplay and complex rhyming schemes in their lyrics. Although they were officially a foursome, they almost always had a small army of supporting characters. Among that army: Queensland folkie Darren Hanlon, and Kellie Sutherland from the Victoria-based indie band Architecture in Helsinki.
I have a few friends who are fanatical about The Lucksmiths, and they introduced me to a couple of Lucksmiths albums. Back in the day when people made cassettes for each other. I was pretty wild about A Good Kind of Nervous (1997), but for some reason the only Lucksmiths album I’ve ever owned is Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me.
In some ways, I’ve always thought of The Lucksmiths as “Scottish-sounding”. Of course the Lucksmiths came first, but I’ve always thought of them and Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura as being in the same vein. Not that they particularly sound all that similar, but just that those two Scottish bands use some of the same punsmithing and rhymery in their songs.
Here’s tonight’s song:
“Fear of Rollercoasters” by The Lucksmiths
This sounds like good ole’ sugary indie pop music. Jaunty, jangly guitars. A nice catchy chorus. Some playful keyboards. Handclaps. Sure. But then there are those textbook Lucksmiths things.
Yesterday was lost drinking
And yes, today I was thinking
‘I could be making more of the weekend’
A seaside bus’ll see us disembark
At sunset by the amusement park
I’m none too nonchalant but I’ll pretend
Okay. What’s not to love about that? Marty Donald rhymes ‘yesterday’ with ‘yes, today’. ‘Disembark’ with ‘amusement park’. Plus, there’s something really fun about the structure of that “none too nonchalant…” line. I love it.
At 2:15, there’s a quirky little thing after the “I’ve overcome my fear of rollercoasters” line, it seems like it’s going to fade out. There’s a slight production hiccup there just before Kellie enters with her “Hey, sugarlips” bit while Marty is doing the “C’mon, come over” chorus. I don’t know if it was intentional, but it strikes me as odd.
Apart from that tiny hiccup, I like it so much. It’s pure fun. And fun with words and rhymes.
You can get Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me from the amazon store here.