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Lucky Soul – The Great Unwanted (album review):

Last years ‘We Are The Pipettes’ was an up-tempo, deliriously catchy Motown-esque album full of very summery tunes and lilting melodies. The debut album by 2007’s rising stars Luck Soul, ‘The Great Unwanted’, is as gloriously affecting as the Pipettes’ offering, and just as perfect in its ability to add a spring in the step of those with even the lowest of downbeat moods. The band, a 6-piece from South London, have released an album that immediately lifts the spirits, and never more so than with breezy opening track (and Diana Ross & The Supremes sound-a-like) ‘Add Your Light To Mine Baby’.

Its loping bass line – reminiscent of Dodgy’s 1996 hit ‘Good Enough’ – and kitchen sink et. al. approach in its whooping brass section sees the track hit the pinnacle of mid-60’s Detroit Tamla-town, with lead singer Ali Howard’s soaring vocals sounding, on numerous occasions throughout the album, like Sarah Cracknell from 90’s indie pop band St. Etienne. The song’s shimmering outro refrain of “Baby you’re so fine / Together we could shine / Add your light to mine” being of particularly exhilarating fare.

One of the many great things about this album is the obvious care in which the tracklisting has been put together. In today’s fickle music culture of cherry-picking tracks to bung onto an iPod, it’s refreshing to hear an album where genuine thought has been put into the ebb and flow of the alum, and the many differing moods and genres it encapsulates; ‘The Great Unwanted’ smoothly segues from positively zany into chilled-out melancholy without skipping a beat.

The momentum of the album begins with 4 upbeat tracks, punctuating with chunky Martha & the Vandellas stop/start dynamic and scorching chunky riffs and soothing ‘Ooooh’ refrains, as seen in second track ‘One Kiss Don’t Make A Summer’, with the last lines “But if it’s True-ooooh / Tell me what am I supposed to do-ooooh?” The wistful daze of tracks 3 and 4 (‘Struck Dumb’ and ‘Lips Are Unhappy’ respectively) are both positively pleasant ditties, with ‘Struck Dumb’ sounding reminiscent of the Frankie Valli & Four Seasons 1962 classic ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, especially the ‘Waaah-waaah’ bit. You know what I mean when you hear it.

The Austin Powers-esque ‘Get Outta Town’ (imagine a cast of random characters accompanying Austin “Danger” Powers in a full-form dance formation along to this track in the credit scenes…) and lovely ‘My Brittle Heart’, coupled with the humble modesty of ‘Ain’t Never Been Cool’ (with witty lines such as “Won’t get in your gang / Won’t fit in your clique / Won’t tap you on the shoulder / Or kiss you on the cheek”) show a refreshingly post-modern cool-without-wanting-to-be-cool attitude.

And that’s pretty much the whole album really – it’s cool without wanting to be cool.
By J M Ross