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The Lucksmiths "Staring at the Sky ***SOLD OUT***" CD $10 (L&L030)

Staring At The Sky began in Paris during the band's 1999 European tour. The boys borrowed some instruments and recording gear, and for three grueling days locked themselves into a sixth-floor apartment on the Boulevard Voltaire, living on nothing but baguettes, coffee and red wine. Back home in Australia, and persevering with their new-found worldliness, they invited a few of their friends around to a backyard shed to polish the thing off — some horns here, some strings there, a little piano, an even smaller melodica they found in an op-shop in Finland. The end result is trés magnifique!: six understated classic pop tunes spanning everything from love and self pity to aviation history. (Originally released in Australia by Candle Records in 1999.)

1) Smokers in Love
2) I Can't Believe It's Not Better
3) ie, eg, etc
4) The Golden Age of Aviation
5) Before the Sun Came Up
6) The Opposite of Coffee

"For a bunch of Australian lads barely scraping their mid-20s, the Lucksmiths have settled into a formula and executed a series of records as accomplished on the songwriting end as they are warm and goo-goo eyed in production. With the kind of yawning and scratching usually reserved for old lovers in the morning, the six-song EP Staring at the Sky doesn't need to stake out its territory so much as imply it with a few simple gestures. The brushed drums, the posh, thick Crocodile Dundee accents and the rhyming of the words afford and bored. In the '80s, we used to call this band the Housemartins, and they were from England. And the arc of the Lucksmiths' growth is remarkably similar: after last year's wildly popular (at least among the sweater-vest set, anyway) compilation of seven-inches, Happy Secret, Staring finds the band expanding more on their brushes-bass-guitar format with horns and piano, and the songs are all the better for it. It's hardly surprising that prior to this recording, the band shared a handful of European dates with Belle and Sebastian. At this point, the Lucksmiths are roughly in the same place the Housemartins were when they recorded "Five Get Over-Excited," they know the plan, but they also realize that it's time to start tweaking it a bit. It's a good place to be. Simple, but oddly baroque and charming, the Lucksmiths don't make music so much as they make conversation — and they're brilliant, precocious raconteurs. These songs are alternately folksy and urbane, knowing and naïve, forever trapped in that first six months after college. If Staring at the Sky is anythin to go by, they'll make that transition fine, but not without the requisite bumps." Spin Magazine

"It was mid August, 1999 and my parents pulled into the small college town of Pullman, Washington. They left me standing at the side of the road as I waved goodbye. Thousands of miles away in Paris, The Lucksmiths were recording an EP. Years later, the music they defined by themselves would become the pleasant music of my dreams. The EP was Staring At The Sky, a well crafted pop album that comes to us from a group of Australians whose mastery of the song brings pleasant twists and turns, accented harmonies, and a variety of instruments true to genre of twee. The Lucksmiths are masters at crafting songs, each one presenting a new aspect of common life like a nostalgic existential poem. “Smokers In Love” opens the album on a high point. Harmonies add depth and a melodica adds mystery. This upbeat peppy song is an obvious hit that will have feet tapping to the beats and voices humming to the la las from the first note. “I Can't Believe It's Not Better” slows things down and features the piano with an occasional trumpet and trombone duet in the background. The final track on the A side of this 10-inch, “ie, eg, etc,” replaces the horns and melodica for the harmonica. A nice aspect of 10- and 12-inch records is that the B-Side allows an artist to make a second first impression and The Lucksmiths use this to full advantage. The song kicks off with a sample from what sounds like an old movie. Piano heavy with a light guitar shuffle, “The Golden Age of Aviation” makes awkward rhymes pure art in the catchy chorus: And the novelty wore offWhen the pilots still wore gogglesBut your eyes look skywardsAnd your mind still boggles... Horns take the bridge and carry through the closing chorus of “goggles/boggles” to finish out the song. “Before the Sun Came Up” continues the acoustic theme. It's a shame the vocals are barely audible as The Lucksmiths are excellent storytellers. “The Opposite of Coffee” could easily be what influenced Pehr Records English darlings Arco. The bass leads the melody while an acoustic keeps the rhythm. Soft, melodic and ballad to the core, the song is a perfect closer for a perfect pop EP." Fensepost