The Guild League

Private Transport

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Tali White, a member of Australia's best indie pop group, the Lucksmiths, presides over the Guild League. For this record he rounded up friends in Australia and San Francisco, including members of #Poundsign#, the Fairways, the Lucksmiths, Sodastream, and the Aislers Set, among others. It would be very hard for members of so many great bands to make a bad record; in fact they have made a very good one. White has a breathy and pure voice reminiscent of Nick Drake or Colin Blunstone, maybe even Paddy McAloon, very personal and hushed. His songs are reminiscent of the Lucksmiths', obviously, and also the Go-Betweens. They share a wry, observational tone with that legendary group and are filled with little phrases and details that add much pleasure to listening. "Jet-Set..Go!" is a charming travelogue that celebrates White's favorite places, "The Neatest Hand" is an ode to nice handwriting, and "Cornflakes" begins with a few words on the joys of breakfast cereal and goes on to cover winter and the joy of love. The record is chock-full of chiming guitars both electric and acoustic, propulsive rhythms, lovely vocal harmonies, and clever yet simple orchestration. There is a strong balance of dynamics throughout with a nice mix of up-tempo tracks and ballads and even a dazzling near-a cappella tune, the album-closer "A Faraway Place." The only wrong note is "Siamese Couplets," and it is a mild one. Some people may even find Australian-accented rapping charming. At least there is a nice chorus and a trumpet solo -- it's hard to beat a good trumpet solo. Any fan of the Lucksmiths will instantly fall in love with this record, as will fans of the indie pop sound.

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