In a world where instant gratification is the norm, patience has become a rare commodity. For Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett, who make up indie-folk duo Luluc (pronounced Loo-LUKE), letting things unfold in due time not only defines their career trajectory, it also works as a pretty good description of their approach to making music. Music that Sub Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman describes as “bracing, subtle, tender and magnificent.”
So while it may seem like Randell and Hassett’s history is littered with all kinds of good luck - from their initial meeting to their relationship with The National’s Aaron Dessner to opening slots with artists like Lucinda Williams, Fleet Foxes and José Gonzàlez; to their deal with Sub Pop; to grabbing the attention of Nick Drake’s producer - being in the right place at the right time isn’t just about fate. It’s about knowing when something feels right and having the confidence that people will respond when they’re ready.
There’s no question that everything these Australians (who split their time between Melbourne and their adopted hometown of Brooklyn) have done in their lives has been leading up to this summer’s ‘Passerby’, their second album overall and first available worldwide.
Co-produced by the band and Dessner, ‘Passerby’ shows off all of Luluc’s best qualities, retaining the gentle beauty of the duo’s debut while adding textures built with a cadre of impressive players. It’s the trophy celebrating Luluc’s airtight case that good things really do come to those who wait. The wait is over. The world is ready to hear Luluc quiet and clear.
The LP includes MP3 coupon.
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Luluc is the latest band to fall under the mentoring of the National’s Aaron Dessner, who continues to produce soft, reliable folk records that concentrate on the sparseness of arrangements and the command of a good voice. Where previous records under Dessner’s guidance have dark, caustic qualities to them -- from the ever-anxious records his own band release to the furious acoustic songs that comprise Sharon Van Etten’s 'Tramp', 'Passerby' is serene, featuring an endless roster of violinists, trumpeters and cellists to fill all the empty space he gives it. It’s perfect window-gazing music, in a lot of ways: opener “Small Window” sprinkles piano chords on top of Zoe Randell’s commandingly disdainful voice as she pines for a Chicago skyline, while the supplementary bass notes of “Tangled Heart” recall the best fleeting moments of a Nick Drake song. With Dessner’s clean-as-a-whistle sound and Randell’s large party of musicians, 'Passerby' sounds like a dream pop record that’s been filled in, marrying the aimless sound of Nada Surf and Galaxie 500 with the attention-to-detail of a Sufjan Stevens record.
As with any record like this, the horns are the best bit; Luluc are best in their more aspirational, orchestrated moments, the songs in which they almost forget that Dessner has been trying to hush them up.
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