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The Lucksmiths "Spring a Leak" 2xCD $25 (L&L042) Add To Basket.

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Weighing in at a handsome 45 songs, Spring a Leak is a comprehensive overview of The Lucksmiths' non-album recordings, gathering 7" tracks, b-sides, compilation songs, live gems, unreleased rarities, remixes, and cover versions. It all comes wrapped up superbly in a deluxe double-CD digipak.

DISC 1

1) Falling Off of My Feet Again (compilation track, Siddeleys cover)
2) Point Being (b-side)
3) The Invention of Ordinary Everyday Things (7" version)
4) Synchronised Sinking (previously unreleased radio session)
5) Postcard (previously unreleased, Simpletons cover)
6) The Year of Driving Languorously (compilation track, radio session)
7) Even Stevens (previously unreleased radio session)
8) There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (compilation track, Smiths cover)
9) Macintyre (7" version)
10) The Winter Proper (b-side)
11) Anyone's Guess (compilation track)
12) $30 (compilation track)
13) Get Well Now (7" b-side)
14) A Hiccup in Your Happiness (previously unreleased radio session)
15) Deep Sea Diving Suit (b-side, Magnetic Fields cover)
16) Punchlines (live on television)
17) Snug (previously unreleased alternative version)
18) I Prefer the Twentieth Century (Hydroplane remix, compilation track)
19) To Absent Votes (b-side, compilation track)
20) Make a Wish (previously unreleased Cat's Miaow cover)
21) Smokers in Love (live, previously unreleased)
22) Are You Having a Good Time?!?! (7" b-side)

DISC 2

1) From Macaulay Station (b-side)
2) I Started a Joke (b-side, Bee Gees cover)
3) Once Again (compilation track)
4) How to Tie a Tie (Pipas remix, compilation track)
5) Rushes of Pure Spring (previously unreleased, Ladybug Transistor cover)
6) Rue Something (b-side)
7) Off With His Cardigan! (previously unreleased radio session)
8) Camera-Shy (live, previously unreleased)
9) Requiem For the Punters Club (b-side)
10) Yunta Hair (compilation track)
11) Dignified and Old (compilation track, Modern Lovers cover)
12) Caravanna (7" version)
13) The Thought That Counts (compilation track)
14) Up (7" version)
15) Boat (Bedridden cover, compilation track)
16) Broken Bones (compilation track, radio session)
17) Danielle Steel (live, compilation track)
18) Dolly (previously unreleased, Sugargliders cover)
19) Shine on Me (7" version)
20) Transpontine (Andrew Kaffer remix)
21) The Tichborne Claimant (live, compilation track)
22) I've Got It and It's Not Worth Having (compilation track, Boyracer cover)
23) Your Favourite Shirt (previously unreleased demo)



"The Lucksmiths’ first two singles-and-rarities collections, Happy Secret and Where Were We?, are single-disc affairs compact and consistent enough that new fans might mistake them for proper albums. Each succinctly displays the Australian band’s smart, funny, sensitive and (perhaps most important) impeccably well-crafted pop songwriting: what has made them absolute musical legends to fans like me.

The new two-disc Spring a Leak does not have the same compact approach as the first two, but that’s certainly not a bad thing. This time the release is more of a catch-all in some ways, with 45 tracks – including not just B-sides , compilation tracks, remixes and scarcely released covers, but also a mighty handful of radio-show performances of tracks from their albums. Nearly all of them are fantastic (the others still at least fun and/or interesting), making this a veritable library of Lucksmiths recordings that fans will go berserk over (or quietly fall in love with, depending on your personality).

Even fans will likely find great songs they have forgotten about - I was struck by that right from the start, with their snappy/sweet cover of the Siddeleys’ “Falling Off of My Feet Again”, with nice horns on the outro (it’s from the Matinée 50 comp – only 4 years ago, but alas my memory skills are fading). Recent EP b-sides are here, like “To Absent Votes”, capturing the soon-lost hope of an election night, and the beer-drenched bittersweet singalong “Requiem for the Punters Club.” And older 7” tracks, too, like the entire “Macintyre” 7” from 1995 (I like the title track, with its line “I’m not happy but I’m near enough”) and the entire “The Invention of Ordinary Everyday Things” 7” from 1997 – both impossible to find.

One of my favorite remixes, by anyone of anyone, is here: the Pipas remix of “How to Tie a Tie”, with handclaps and new “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba” backing vocals, and everything else you’d want in a remix (the original song’s strengths, for example). There’s also previously unreleased covers of the Simpletons, the Sugargliders, the Ladybug Transistor and the Cat’s Miaow, plus great released ones, like the Modern Lovers’ “Dignified and Old”, Boyracer’s “I’ve Got It (And It’s Not Worth Having)” and the Magnetic Fields’ “Deep Sea Diving Suit.” The radio recordings include beautiful versions of Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me tracks “The Year of Driving Languorously”, “Broken Bones” and “Synchronised Sinking”. Plus recordings of the band playing “Punchlines” and “Off With His Cardigan!” on Australian TV (who knew?) back in 1998.

And there’s of course a ton of memorable songs that I haven’t mentioned, since there’s nothing more tedious than a writer going through every single track on a CD and describing it, when you could just go out and hear the damn thing yourself, and be much happier for it." Dave Heaton, Erasing Clouds



"The Lucksmiths have been writing and recording melodic and witty indie pop for well over 10 years now and have inevitably managed to acquire a rather large archive of b-sides, live tracks, radio sessions and other leftovers. As a result, they’ve put together Spring A Leak, comprising two discs of these lost or buried numbers, which include live versions of familiar tunes, lesser known compositions and covers of artists like The Smiths, The Modern Lovers and The Magnetic Fields as well as Oz contemporaries such as The Simpletons. What’s immediately apparent is the quality and accessibility of these rarer tunes. Like b-side/rarities collections by Broadcast and Clinic, Spring A Leak is a compelling album in its own right. Songs like Point Being (from the Midweek Midmorning single) show them as torch-bearers for the iconic Australian melodic guitar pop of the Go-Betweens, while the live recordings (captured for radio stations like Triple J and Melbourne’s 3RRR) reveal them to be crisp, solid concert performers. An excellent chronicle of a distinctly Australian and intelligent pop group." **** Matt Thrower, Rave Magazine



"With the death of Grant McLennan and the dissolution of the Go-Betweens, Aussie twee masters the Lucksmiths are by default that country's torchbearers for literate indie pop. For more than a decade, they've easily been up to the challenge. The new Spring a Leak is a particularly good way to play catch-up, seeing as it collects a career's worth of B-sides and rarities over two discs. So consider, neophytes: If the band can be this good on its cast-offs, imagine what the albums are like." Time Out, Chicago



"

Eight years ago, a little-known Australian indie-pop group called the Lucksmiths released their first compilation of non-album material, Happy Secret. Since then, more multi-dimensional Scottish peers Belle & Sebastian have gone on to hit #8 on the UK albums chart and perform before a sell-out crowd at the 18,000-capacity Hollywood Bowl. American songwriters arguably more precious than this Melbourne four-piece, albeit with inarguably better shticks (albums for all 50 states, lyrics with Victorian and nautical themes, Natalie Portman), have become, if not household, then at least dorm-hold names. Most recently, the younger artist who perhaps best embodies the Lucksmiths' cleverness, vulnerability, and sun-worshiping melodic sensibilities, aka Swedish crooner Jens Lekman, has been crowned "a fully realized pop genius" by Slate.


As the Lucksmiths unveil their third non-album compilation, "happy secret" remains as apt a phrase as ever to describe both the band's music and what it feels like to follow them obsessively. Along with a peppy, punning batch of covers, remixes, live recordings, demos, and other rarities dating as far back as 1995, Spring a Leak includes the restrained, elegant B-sides from the two EPs released around the time of the Lucksmiths' eighth-- and most recent-- proper full-length, 2005's Warmer Corners. The ringing chords of jangle-pop predecessors like the Wedding Present and the Pastels resound through phrase-turning tunes about everyday topics: lazy days, drunken afternoons, Scrabble, jokes that have the narrator's sides "splitting" (and his girlfriend, too) and, of course, the weather. Spring a Leak is another treat for longtime fans, and even though, as with 2002 rarities comp Where Were We, it's not the best place for neophytes to start, it's an excellent warts-and-all overview.


Among Spring a Leak's vault-clearing 45 tracks, many of the best should give those just discovering the Lucksmiths an idea what to expect from the band's previous outings. A spirited cover of the Modern Lovers' "Dignified and Old", a version of the Magnetic Fields' "Deep Sea Diving Suit" with guitarist and primary songwriter Marty Donald making a rare appearance on lead vocal, and a disappointingly tame male-female duet rendition of the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" point to three of the most readily apparent influences on the Lucksmiths' songs.


Scrappy-sounding recordings from TV and radio appearances here tend to make up with singing drummer Tali White's infectious energy what they occasionally lack in audio fidelity or performance perfection. Either way, it's a cold bastard who can't break a smile at upbeat older songs like balloon-flying "Up" ("I'm an idiotic Icarus"), nicotine-nicking "Smokers in Love" ("You spend Thursday on your backside whistling 'Friday on My Mind'/ Super-supine"), and character study "Danielle Steel" ("A kingdom for a horse/ A condom for a lover"). "Synchronised Sinking" sees White pounding away on his stripped-down, stand-up drum set, his tenor lacking its usual Mozzy polish but no less dapper as he dispenses advice "on a barstool basis"-- "explain, or you'll explode." On Pacific-gleaming triumph "Camera-Shy", Donald's lyrics make old Polaroids and his own wistful self-loathing come alive. Between time-signature changes, the housebound "Broken Bones" finally finds a downside to inactivity.


Hell, the Lucksmiths could've easily stopped there and played defense against the critics, but this is a generous compilation, rewarding equally generous listens. An alternate version of the leisurely paced "Caravanna" doesn't change much from 1997's A Good Kind of Nervous original, but it should introduce a new audience to its vivid depiction of wanderlust unfulfilled: "If either one of us could drive/ We could drive away," White sings, ultimately conceding, "I wish there was some furniture that I could rearrange." Newer songs from 2006's A Hiccup in Your Happiness and 2005's The Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco EPs, such as "To Absent Votes" and "The Winter Proper", may slow down the tempos too much for those who listen to the Lucksmiths solely for giddy bursts like bassist Mark Monnone-penned "T-Shirt Weather" (not on this double-disc set), but their nuanced, subtly unfolding narratives of the extraordinary amid the ordinary mark some of the group's finest songcraft to date.


On Spring a Leak, the Lucksmiths give more of themselves than we've come to expect in an age when technology and ubiquitous, freely available reviews seem to have led bands to iron out their idiosyncrasies. If this means skippable joke tracks like mildly amusing (one time) classic-rock diss "Are You Having a Good Time?!?!" and the concise, at least, "$30", or a few mediocre remixes, then it also means cover songs-- of tracks by Simpletons, the Ladybug Transistor, and the Bedridden, among others-- that introduce new audiences to the broader, still mostly below-the-radar world of twee-as-fuck indie-pop groups.


The Lucksmiths, like the Smiths or the Modern Lovers' Jonathan Richman, are an act whose best moments are scattered throughout way too many releases to purchase feasibly all at once, with even extant singles collections leaving out some career highlights. Still, Spring a Leak is, if not Louder than Bombs mind-blowing, still far more comprehensive than Richman comp Home of the Hits. Yeah, the handful of subpar tracks drag down the rating a bit, but whether we're talking Aussie indie pop or Southern rap (UGK, dudes), it's tough to punish a group for refusing to rip off their fans. With even users of the MySpace-band-besieged Wikipedia questioning the "notability" of Spring a Leak, the Lucksmiths must still be a relative secret; happily, there's no reason to keep them that way." Rating: 7.8 Marc Hogan, Pitchfork Media