The Lucksmiths

Why That Doesn't Surprise Me

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At this point, the Lucksmiths seem fated to a lifetime of comparisons to Belle & Sebastian -- granted, both bands share a common sensibility distinguished by the same cynical lyricism, gorgeously immediate melodies, and gilded harmonies, but with the stunning Why That Doesn't Surprise Me, the Lucksmiths have plainly staked out their own territory as well. Marty Donald is as good as any songwriter going -- the opening "Music to Hold Hands To" and the sun-kissed "Broken Bones" in particular are as memorable as any pop songs you're likely to hear this year or any other, buoyed by lilting acoustic guitars and wordplay that recalls vintage Morrissey in both its savage wit and poetic grace. Indeed, for all the classicist elements of the Lucksmiths' aesthetic -- ringing, Byrds-like melodies, "sha-la-la" vocals, elegant string arrangements, and the like -- Why That Doesn't Surprise Me also boasts a uniquely postmodern edge that turns pop conventions on their ear.

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