The Lucksmiths are one of those bands that, aside from numerous albums, scatter their catalogue far and wide across b-sides, sessions, demos and compilation albums. Add to that covers and remixes and there’s a mighty amount of stuff for your completist to get hold of. Handily this is the third of such compilations, 45 songs spread across two CDs.
It’s amazing some of the stuff on here. Take Point Being for instance, a sumptuous pop song cast away on a b-side. The live radio version of Synchronised Sinking reveals a much feistier side to the band as they rattle through the song, like The Go-Betweens with fire in their belly. Another live radio session song stands out, The Year Of Driving Languorously, this time showing the acoustic beauty of their songs. The songs on the whole sound fairly simply structured, but they all have such wonderful melodies and hooks it’s impossible to resist. Sometimes simplicity is best, and provides all you need. You have got to love the gorgeous cover of The Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, sung as a duet with Karen Morcombe, something that gives it a nice edge. Macintyre shakes and rolls, a definite fifties rock n roll influence present. The solemn The Winter Proper makes you shiver with sadness, while Get Well Now is similarly downbeat and sympathetically solemn. The twinkly Deep Sea Diving Suit is another great cover, this time of a Magnetic Fields tune. Punchlines has a little bitter bile in the vocals and a rockier tune than usual, barrelling through. The Hydroplane remix of I Prefer The Twentieth Century is ace, the hollow drums providing the backline, further industrial noises come from a buzzing synth, making the song unlike anything else the band has done. The live version of Smokers In Love is a rattling good number.
From Macauley Station starts the second disc, a plaintive yearning to get away from the place. It’s followed up by a downbeat version of The Bee Gees song I Started A Joke. How To Tie A Tie shakes and has weird echoes that make it sound like Joe Meek got hold of a sixties girl group. That this was remixed by Pipas should explain its idiosyncrasy. Rue Something is a little waltz like, while Off With His Cardigan shows the bare bones of what they’re about, a great pop tune stripped back to its skeleton. Up is a jaggedy, jangle fest, sprightly and lively and Boat is an end of history comedown blues. The cover of Dolly by The Sugargliders chugs along with Wedding Present third album harshness. The remix of Transpontine by Andrew Kaffer starts with backwards slips in time, before releasing a segment of the song, which the weirdness then tries to drag back under, succeeding eventually in the ghostly static.
This compilation is a long old ride, but one full of many treasures, so worth taking.
Spring A Leak is out now on Matinee Recordings
The Lucksmiths myspace is here