Lucky Soul
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Lucky Soul


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"Pitchfork Album Review"

Lucky Soul:
The Great Unwanted
[Ruffa Lane; 2007]
Rating: 8.0

* Buy it from Insound
* Download it from eMusic

Ever since the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby", guitar groups have set out to capture the teenage melodrama of 60s girl groups. Most recently, Britons the Pipettes broke hearts in matching costumes, while El Perro del Mar cried Swedish tears into orchestrally fluffed pillows. And don't forget Johnny Boy's "You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve". Some bands add the Velvet Underground to the formula, whether in the sweet noise squall of the Jesus and Mary Chain or the Concretes' misty Mazzy Starscapes.

When I first encountered Lucky Soul, on last year's chic indie pop comp The Kids at the Club, all I could hear was the past. The London sextet's thrillingly overwrought girl-group glamor is completely unmediated by hipster weirdness; you'll find no Wes Anderson postmodernism on their debut album, The Great Unwanted, so you can leave your ironic T-shirts at home. The syrupy orchestration of "My Brittle Heart", the group's first single, takes from Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" not the overly familiar drum patterns, but the grand, open-hearted directness, as huge and as potentially embarrassing as first love. "Liberty is wasted on me," sings frontwoman Ali Howard, cribbing a line from 1991 Morrissey B-side "I've Changed My Plea to Guilty". Another Lucky Soul single, "Lips Are Unhappy" remembers the Motown lesson on amplifying emotion by seeming to suppress it, as Howard calls for us to "shake, shake, shimmy, shimmy" (for sure!) over sunny-day tambourine and velveteen harmonies. "I'm tired of keeping composure when I'm not supposed to feel sad," she sings on "One Kiss Don't Make a Summer". The tracks of her tears are easy to trace.

Still, The Great Unwanted isn't the kind of album that leaves you walking out humming "Be My Baby". Guitarist, primary songwriter, and arranger Andrew Laidlaw pays more attention to composition than to homage, and Howard has an unshowy, girlish voice that's nevertheless more polished than usual in indie pop, with shades of Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, and Petula Clark. She can cast a spell over upbeat Northern Soul floorshakers like "Getta Outta Town!" and bouncy third single "Add Your Light to Mine, Baby". But she's just as at home on decorous torch songs like guitar waltz "Baby I'm Broke", aching finale "The Last Song" (with its reviewer-ready "the penultimate beat of the drum") and the smoldering "My Darling, Anything", which pours sugar in the singer's wounds with musical puns about missed beats and a heart that goes "skip-skip-skip" like a scratched-up CD. It's the type of sumptuous bubblegum that made an impressive showing on Pitchfork's "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s" but rarely places on year-end album lists.

On "The Great Unwanted", Lucky Soul decisively align themselves with the uncool, a not uncommon move that rings true mostly due to the music's non-appetite for winks. "Look for us, we were the casualties/ Forever paying the price for a life less boring," Howard proclaims. Elsewhere on the album, the toweringly embellished title track from recent EP Ain't Never Been Cool once again sides with the unfairly unloved. Which on one hand could be viewed as commercially astute; the latest girl-group revival can't last forever. Then again, that's where things get really poignant. Howard has chosen whole-broken-heartedly to stand among the pop-besotted, lonely souls to whom the Smiths addressed another B-side, 1985's "Rubber Ring"-- the huddled masses whose lives were once saved by a song. If we don't love her, who will?

* MySpace:
* Stream: Lucky Soul: The Great Unwanted (full album)

- Marc Hogan, May 24, 2007 - Pitchfork

"Metro 5 STAR album review"

See for review - Metro UK

"The Independent On Sunday 5 STAR reveiw"

See for review - Independent On Sunday UK

"Lucky Soul - Bush Hall, London"

Lucky Soul take a more studied approach to 60s pop classicism. Five dapper gents and one peroxided femme fatale, they play exquisitely understated songs about heartache, loneliness and smalltown despair with élan and piquant precision, as if Petula Clark had been touched by Phil Spector's preoduction alchemy. Singer Ali Howard makes the Ronettes-like 'One Kiss Don't Make A Summer' sound both glacial and intimate, before cooing through the flawless ache of 'Baby I'm Broke'.
Lucky Soul may be a period piece, but they are a supremely crafted one. They encore with The Killing Moon, Echo and the Bunnymen's immaculate nugget of moody, mid-80s pop, and it shines for the same reason that tonight is a sweeping triumph: it's the songs, stupid. - The Guardian

"The Great Unwanted"

Lucky us, this isn’t a mod-ish crush but a full-blown pop affair. - The Word


The Great Unwanted (album)
Add Your Light To Mine, Baby (single)
Lips Are Unhappy (single)
My Brittle Heart (single)
Ain't Never Been Cool (single)



For those in the know, London’s Lucky Soul are the worst kept secret in female-fronted, Spector-soaked pop. Indeed, 2007 turned out to be quite a year for this super stylish London six-piece. Following the release of their sparkling debut album in April, 'The Great Unwanted', they won over thousands of hearts across the world with their lush, love-struck, classic pop songs. The self-released album has so far sold over 40,000 copies in just three countries and went top ten in Japan whilst garnering a fanfare of critical acclaim back home, picking up 4 and 5 star reviews across the board - a testament, not least, to guitarist and songwriter Andrew Laidlaw’s ear for a shimmering, irresistible melody.

Whilst a release for the debut album outside of Spain, Japan and the UK has remained elusive, it still made Amazon America’s top 100 editor’s picks of 2007 (the only album there not to have ever been released in the U.S) and remains one of Pitchfork’s most loved lost albums of 2007 garnering a glowing review and 8.0 and constant mentions. The love for the ‘Soul’ has now started to pervade TV land with placements on ER (Warner Bros studios, USA aired NBC 10pm November 8th 2007) and Men In Trees (Warner Bros studios, USA aired on CW network 9pm Jan 22nd 2008 and 9pm Feb 19th 2008) in addition there was a synch placement in September 2007 for the Payless shoe store chain in America which reached millions across every major U.S and Canadian TV network.

They are now busying themselves with writing and recording their second album and upcoming single for release later this year interjected with giving the aforementioned new material a good road testing at their stunning live performances throughout 2008 from Russia to The Philippines.

Here’s what the press said about Lucky Soul’s debut album ‘The Great Unwanted’:
“An immediate classic.” (Independent on Sunday 5/5) “Pop at its most glorious and heartbreaking.” (Metro 5/5 - Album of the Week) “Performs the rare feat of meticulously acknowledging its inspirations while also transcending them.” (Uncut 4/5) “A glorious, over-romanticised racket.” (Guardian 4/5) “Lucky us, this isn’t a mod-ish crush but a full-blown pop affair.” (The Word) “Grand, unabashed pop.” (Pitchfork 8.0) “They take a history’s worth of love-and-loneliness songs and turn them into their own glimmering, shimmering gold.” (Popmatters 9/10) “Impossible to dislike.” (Observer) “A decade on plastic.” (Plan B) “Excellent.” (Times 4/5)