Alex Lahey

The Best of Luck Club

Dead Oceans

May 16, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Somewhere in the wake of Courtney Barnett's hundred-foot-wave of cultural impact lies an entire fleet of Australian artists, poised for invasion, disparate in all but heritage, offering up the sounds of down under to sun-starved shores. The likes of Press Club, The Chats, Amyl and The Sniffers, Tropical Fuck Storm, and Stella Donnelly are all at varying levels of underground appreciation, any one of which likely to break out in a big way at any moment. Aside from the aforementioned Press Club, perhaps the likeliest contender for a swim in the mainstream is Alex Lahey.

Following her anthemic, angsty 2017-released debut I Love You Like a Brother, Lahey returns with The Best of Luck Club, a bar-room-roused blast of a second record. Rather than viewing darkened dives through the eyes of a Tom Waits or a Conor Oberst, Lahey chooses to translate the transient, booze-soaked interactions into upbeat, empowered pop rock.

"Am I Doing It Right" is an irresistible, irascible anthem with the cheeky hook "Am I doing it right when I make everyone move?" "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" is a hair-trigger chugger with a teen-friendly tune and a lyrical helping hand for a friend running themselves into the ground. "It's clear to me you've reached your limit once again," Lahey sagely observes before offering the titular advice.

There's more excellence in the strong first half, "Interior Demeanour" standing out with its Pixies-scratch guitar and a sing-along chorus prepped for arenas. "An hour is too short a time to get through all my issues," she notes of a therapy session, but it's all done with generous, self-aware humor. "Give it time, you'll be fine," mocks the vast chorus.

Later, on "I Need to Move On" and "Black RMs" the color fades somewhat and we start to feel the diminishing returns of the overly polished production, and on "Misery Guts" we get some lazy, clichéd songwriting and tired sentiments about hangers-on and bringers-down.

Yet there are two very special moments here. "Unspoken History" is an unconventional piano ballad with Lahey lamenting "We used to do it 'til it wasn't fun...we used to be unbeatable, you used to be my saint," creating a sophisticated melody that's utterly entrancing. It's a downbeat moment that shows startling song craft. It pairs nicely with closer "I Want to Live With You," which does suffer for its smoothness but benefits from being the kind of haunted pop tune that would be a joy to hear on the radio. These departures are both enthralling and promising.

The Best of Luck Club sounds and feels like a breakout record and, hopefully, Lahey can lead the charge when it comes to the army of Aussie acts currently knocking on the door of widespread adoration. (www.thebestofluckclub.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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