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CD: Lucky Soul – Hard Lines | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Lucky Soul – Hard Lines

CD: Lucky Soul – Hard Lines

The British pop band return with a timeless collection that's perfect for right now

We are living, I think it’s fair to say, in troubled times. That is, if we’re living at all by the time of publication. Putting aside, for a second, the sabre-rattling of two monstrous egos, there is a need, in such dark days, of some light. Thankfully, Hard Lines, the third album from British pop act Lucky Soul shines with the force and intensity of the Sun – admittedly still not as hot as an exploding thermonuclear warhead, but let’s work with what we have.

The album has been a long time coming – it’s seven years since the band’s well-received second outing, the Motown flecked A Coming of Age, and in that time they’ve shifted gear somewhat. Hard Lines, by comparison, is steeped in 80s pop, blue-eyed soul and disco (both American and Italo), with clear production touchstones in Nile Rodgers and Jellybean Benitez. Lead single “No Ti Amo” sits somewhere between Saint Etienne and early Madonna and is every bit as good as that comparison suggests. Like many of these songs, it sounds simple, but hides incredible depth and complexity. There is a lot of tinkering here, but things never feel crowded, nothing jostles for position – like a beautifully detailed painting, the composition is spot on.

This impressive heft is a constant right through the collection, as is the pursuit of perfect melody. “More Like Mavis”, “Stonewashed” and “Too Much” all give a sharp sense of déjà vu, sounding like they’ve been around forever, though, in truth, any of the 10 tracks here could qualify as a single. And while the sugar coating to these pop confections is undoubtedly welcome in the absence of a summer, or reason in our political classes, these aren’t by any stretch thoughtless, empty calories. Most notably, “(Hurts Like a) Bee Sting”, “Hard Lines” and “Livin on a Question Mark” are all informed by a sense of frustration and downright anger, having been composed over a period that saw political upheaval, rioting in the streets and, most recently, Brexit. Protest music doesn’t have to be brash – look at the Blow Monkeys, look at Marvin Gaye.

It may have taken seven years plus blood, sweat, tears and dedication, but this is an incredibly impressive return that more than vindicates the effort. In fact, I’m calling it now – pop album of the year!

 

While the sugar coating to the album's pop confections is very welcome, these aren’t by any stretch simple, empty calories

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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