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The Green Bicycle Case

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Album Review

With First Tape and Boondoggle under their belts, the Lucksmiths approached their first real album, per se, with well-deserved confidence and came up trumps. Named after a notorious murder from some 100 years previous, The Green Bicycle Case again showcases the band's virtue for getting things done without wasting time — 12 songs in just over half an hour, nearly all of them winners. The recording quality isn't all that different from Boondoggle and neither is the general presentation — the minimal arrangements give all that's needed song for song, while the extra touches (mandolin here, bodhran there) add a bit of flair without distracting from the songs themselves. White's performances seem to get better and better on each album — his lead turn on "Motorscooter" is really inviting and compelling, for all that he sings once again in a light tone of voice. As for his drumming, there hasn't been a better worker of a minimal setup in years — he never needs to pound and often refrains from playing entirely — while he's not bad on the occasional recorder turn either. Donald's guitar playing (and fine lyrics: he wrote them for all but one of the songs) and Monnones bass conjure up one delightful song after another — it's seemingly effortless, but that does them a disservice to how well they avoid repeating themselves. It's no surprise based on hearing such songs as "From Here to Maternity," the punning title disguising a sharp portrait of a woman about to give birth without the father around, and "Thomas and Martha," detailing, in surprisingly affecting fashion, the tale of a hangman who put a woman to death, that Belle & Sebastian proclaimed themselves fans. Yet somehow the Lucksmiths just have that much more going for them, something truly inviting and affecting that reaches beyond the Scottish group's studied classicism.


Formed: Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Australian indie pop trio the Lucksmiths teamed singer/percussionist Tali White, guitarist Marty Donald, and bassist Mark Monnone, longtime school friends who initially bonded over their mutual admiration for the Smiths. After going their separate ways to attend university and travel, the threesome reconvened in their native Melbourne in early 1993, playing their debut gig that April opening for the Sugargliders. The Lucksmiths' debut tape was soon released, and in 1994 the group resurfaced with...
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The Green Bicycle Case, The Lucksmiths
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