PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

The Lucksmiths: A Little Distraction

Kevin Jagernauth

The Lucksmiths

A Little Distraction

Label: Matinee
US Release Date: 2003-09-08
UK Release Date: 2003-10-27
Amazon
iTunes

It's hard to put down the Lucksmiths. They just seem so nice. They seem to be the type of boys who, if they were walking down the street and happened upon you moving some furniture, would quickly lend a hand and fix you a pitcher of lemonade after. They probably make great boyfriends who constantly buy their beloved little gifts for no reason at all. Mark, Tali, and Marty are the type of guys you bring home to meet your parents. Thus it makes it incredibly difficult to be too critical of them. I would be afraid of hurting their feelings.

So, dear Lucksmiths, if you're reading this, don't take it too hard, but A Little Distraction is not your finest hour. On previous efforts your lyrical wordplay and pop hooks were immediate and put a smile on the listener's face, but on this EP you guys seem a little down. It's okay to be sad, but the songs suffer from a lack of energy and the lyrics don't dazzle like they used to.

Though accompanied by a beautiful piano line, things start off on a low point with "Transpontine". A great opening lyric -- "Anchor's away!" -- is squandered with a painfully depressed delivery. The chorus of "The river has a right side and a wrong side" isn't particularly exciting or clever. The track is simply a downer of an opening to the EP.

"Little Distraction" begins with a guitar line that could have been used by any number of clean, guitar-strumming pop bands. Some tossed off backing vocals barely register, delivering the chorus as the song refuses to try and deviate from its generic pop melody, before ending abruptly.

On "Moving", the Lucksmiths show some of their pop prowess in action, but fail to capitalize on it. A great hook in the verse melody is botched with a tiring chorus, which has the title of the track sung laboriously. As well, like "Little Distraction", the track ends suddenly, as if the band couldn't figure out what to do.

And don't get me started on "Honey Honey Honey", the sickeningly sweet closing song. It goes beyond making one nauseous into making one just plain angry. Is anyone this annoyingly cute? "Walk me in the morning through the clover / Never mind the bee stings / Your friends are calling me / And asking me to do some silly things"!? "Tonight I want to watch the evening news / Share a beer with you / And be in bed by nine"!? Thankfully, this ends before things get much worse.

But things aren't all sickly sweet or depressed. "Successlessness" is a clever and fun little number, despite the inclusion of a harmonica. But the shining jewel among the bunch is "After the After Party", a reminder of just how good the Lucksmiths can be. Upbeat, with shimmering guitars, this is the Lucksmiths at their best. The band on this track is the one that has created such a devoted following. It's too bad that the rest of the EP pales so obviously beside this cut.

Lazy reviewers have often compared the Lucksmiths to Belle & Sebastian. On the surface the comparison is apt, as both bands employ chiming guitars, witty lyrics, and endearing vocals. The important difference, however, is that where Belle & Sebastian have an ironic or cynical edge, the Lucksmiths play it straight. So, in this sense, a better comparison for the Lucksmiths would be the Softies, who wrote summery pop songs in the same straightforward manner, also choosing earnestness over irony.

A Little Distraction finds the Lucksmiths oddly off their game. The diehard fan will still no doubt eat this up, however the casual listener would do better with Why That Doesn't Surprise Me, the Lucksmiths' 2001 full-length, as an introduction to this usually consistent, and often charming, pop group.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.