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Happy Secret

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Album Review

Happy Secret collects a number of recordings made by Australia's Lucksmiths in 1998, a year during which they toured Europe with Belle & Sebastian and evidently fine-tuned certain elements of their sound, as well. The recordings are certainly the band's best work to that point, dropping the goofy, whimsical attitudes that occasionally hampered A Good Kind of Nervous and concentrating instead on evocative acoustic pop. This move is a very, very good thing. Many of the songs on Happy Secret recall Billy Bragg's best late-'80s work (the lighter side of Don't Try This at Home), or some of the songwriting on the Smiths' self-titled debut, and the record's avoidance of cheekily clever lyrics or overly bouncy song constructions calls for the band's music to be taken as seriously as it probably deserves. The Lucksmiths' intimate, organic sound (acoustic guitars, lightly brushed drums, and plenty of tasteful vocal harmonies) assures their appeal to Belle & Sebastian's many fans, but the giant leap Happy Secret makes from A Good Kind of Nervous should prove the band to be much more than some sort of Belle & Sebastian replacement.

Biography

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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