The Lucksmiths released the six-song Staring at the Sky during a fall 1999 American tour. The Australian trio had already received critical acclaim in the international indie pop community, and this collection received positive accolades as well. It starts off with the satirical "Smokers in Love." The song is full of "la la"s and the lyrical narration of a couple hell-bent on overindulging in alcohol and cigarettes. Marty Donald and Mark Monnone share the songwriting duties this time around, with Donald writing four of the six songs and Monnone composing the others. "IE, EG, ETC" features fellow Australian Darren Hanlon on harmonica and showcases the band's love affair with words, as the song is an ode to the abbreviations for "that is," "for example," and "et cetera." "The Golden Age of Aviation" is the closest thing to a title track with the lyric "Staring out the window at the sky." The song is classic Lucksmiths, with Tali White's sweet vocal presence and precise brush stick-drumming. The song includes Richard Ogier-Herbert on piano. The disc closes with the ballad "The Opposite of Coffee," with Monnone's stretched out bassline and a subtle xylophone arrangement. Other guest musicians include Peter Cohen on arco bass, Warwick Lobb on trumpet, and Cameron Lobb on trombone.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer