The Lucksmiths have a knack of making every bit of the day seem like Sunday afternoon. Perhaps it's the lazy-chair contentedness evoked by their leisurely-paced insular moments, or the fact that their plucky acoustic pop can have a sunniness brighter than a Fauves color scheme. Maybe it's the mention of football scarves ("Goodness Gracious") and sleeping on the mattress on a sibling's floor ("Great Dividing Range"), or titles such as "T-shirt Weather" and "Welcome Home."
In any case, this compilation of assorted non-album recordings features a tidy set of pert-and-introspective melodies. While the Lucksmiths' overall sound has been beamingly upbeat (to the point it can seem rather unhealthy for anyone to sound this cheery), their mood has turned inward of late. So for someone who has traditionally viewed them as diplomats from the "Instant Remedy for Glumness" School of Pop, the contemplative direction has been a surprise.
When I saw the Lucksmiths support the Pernice Bros., the local band decided to ready us up for the moody Pernice combo by spotlighting the pensive, unhurried tunes in their own repertoire (instead of playing their trademark sprightly pop). They dubbed this their "toast and honey" set, and it seems an apt tag for such sleepy-paced melodies. In fact, the Lucksmiths seem to sum themselves up better than anyone else; at another show, they defined their tunes as "music to hold hands to" (which also happens to be the name of a song on their last album, Why Doesn't That Surprise Me).
The endearing and twee nature of their music is also reflected in their subject matter (the first song, with its lukewarm organ peals and gentle acoustic clashes, is titled "The Cassingle Revival") and their wordplay. There's "Friendless Summer," rounded out with tumbling bass, easeful guitars and that pop stock-in-trade, the innocuously chanted doo-doo-doo-doo. The demo for "Great Dividing Range" (the gussied-up, proper version is on the previous album) has vocalist Tali White intoning about the bookmark he's left in an atlas for a girlfriend and musing, in general, about the difficulty of distances; "Tmrw vs Y'day" has the line, "an afternoon in the country/ was all that I was after/ If I can't see you in the future/ then I'll see you in the pasture." It's a simple little charmer and, well, what else do you expect from a band who once named a song "Edward Sandwich Hand"?