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First Tape

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Album Review

So titled because that's exactly what it is — in the liner notes for the CD re-release, the trio apologizes for the roughness of the sound by claiming one can hear Monnone's scarf hitting his bass strings — First Tape captures the young and guileless band in 1993 with its original set of songs. With 11 tunes over 23 minutes, First Tape is not one to waste time, and happily the charm of the group is captured in a brisk and simple way (on two-track even, as opposed to four). The audible non-production on tracks like "English Murder Mystery" and "Adolescent Song of Mindless Devotion," voices suddenly jumping up toward the microphones, somehow just make it all more of a fun listen. White's lovely voice, direct and warm with Australian accent perfectly audible, somehow just beautifully suggests a certain winsome attitude without calling to mind all the stereotypes of twee indie: conversational instead of self-pitying, wryly observant instead of smirkily pithy. Song titles like "Cliched Title for Kris" and "Run Spot Run" may seem to suggest otherwise, but a listen to the end results is a different matter entirely (the latter, for instance, isn't a celebration of a dog but an apology for killing one). There's plenty of humor — jokes that are honestly unexpected that last for more than one listen, a hard trick to pull off easily. Musically the trio kicks up their heels with élan, with songs like "Cat in Sunshine" and "Andrew's Pleasure" so instantly winning that it's damn near impossible not to dance around like a merry loon upon hearing them. White in particular shows that even early on he had an ear for actually playing the drums (instead of keeping time) without worrying about having to seem like a showoff.


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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First Tape, The Lucksmiths
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