The Lucksmiths' guitarist, Marty Donald
|Past members||Marty Donald
The Lucksmiths were an indie pop band from Melbourne, Australia known for witty, intelligent lyrics, a strong melodic sense and a jangly pop sound harkening back to early-1980s bands such as The Smiths and The Go-Betweens.
The band was formed in 1993 by guitarist Marty Donald, drummer and vocalist Tali White, and bass player Mark Monnone, who were high-school friends. They became one of the first bands to release material on Candle Records with their debut album, First Tape. Later Lucksmiths albums and EPs would be been released on Drive-In Records (Later Microindie Records) and Matinée Recordings in the United States, Fortuna Pop! in the United Kingdom, Clover Records in Japan, and Boompa! Records in Canada. On 20 March 1996 they performed on the RMITV show Under Melbourne Tonight
The band was expanded to a four-piece when Mid State Orange guitarist Louis Richter joined for the recording of the album Warmer Corners in 2005. (Louis is also the son of prominent criminal defence barrister Robert Richter.) Following the closure of Candle Records in 2007 The Lucksmiths moved to Melbourne-based label Lost & Lonesome for their last album, First Frost, which the Belfast Telegraph selected as its CD of the Week.
Despite cultivating a sizable following both in Australia and abroad, particularly in Europe, the Lucksmiths disbanded in 2009 after a series of performances in Europe and Australia. Their last concert was on 29 August 2009 at the Corner Hotel in their hometown of Melbourne. In 2012, three of the former Lucksmiths, Marty Donald, Mark Monnone and Louis Richter, announced the formation of their new band Last Leaves, also including Melbourne musician Noah Symons on drums. The final ex-Lucksmith, Tali White, continues to work with his other band, The Guild League.
The band's breakup did not prevent it from becoming involved in controversy in 2011 when a policeman in England was accused of intentionally inserting the title of one of their songs ("Self Preservation") into an official report concerning a murder.
The Lucksmiths' music can best be described as indie pop, although some consider them more specifically a twee pop band. The majority of songs were written by Marty Donald, although White and Monnone also contributed songs. Songs by the Lucksmiths are mostly about love and relationships, but also deal with other everyday issues such as notable friends or warm weather. There are also recurring themes of Melbourne culture, especially that of the inner city, in songs such as "Under the Rotunda", "The Sandringham Line" and "Transpontine". Australian rules football is referenced in many of their songs.
The Lucksmiths were renowned for their creative and witty use of language. The Canberra Times has referred to their music as "literate, gloriously melodic pop," with lyrics "rife with puns and wordplay." The Hobart Mercury called them "fiercely independent and refreshingly unique". In songs written by Marty Donald, lyrics often feature puns, wordplays and draw upon literary references or Australian English idioms. The themes of weather, geography, and seasons appear often in the songs of the Lucksmiths.
Some of the band's influences included The Simpletons, Billy Bragg, The Housemartins, The Magnetic Fields, Belle & Sebastian, The Smiths, The Go-Betweens, Aztec Camera, Lloyd Cole, Orange Juice, and The Trash Can Sinatras.
- First Tape (1993)
- The Green Bicycle Case (1995)
- What Bird Is That? (1996)
- A Good Kind of Nervous (1997)
- Happy Secret (1999)
- Why That Doesn't Surprise Me (2001)
- Where Were We? (2002)
- Naturaliste (2003)
- Warmer Corners (2005)
- Spring A Leak (2007)
- First Frost (2008)
- Boondoggle (1994)
- Staring at the Sky (1999)
- A Little Distraction (2003)
- The Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco (2005)
- A Hiccup in Your Happiness (2006)
- rock city, 27 August 2009, Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)
- The last goodbye and good luck, 14 August 2009, The Age (Melbourne, Australia)
- Last role of dice for Lucksmiths, 20 August 2009, Canberra Times (Australia)
- "UMT list'96". Web.aanet.com.au. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- Brief Encounter, 23 June 2005, The Age (Melbourne, Australia)
- CD of the Week, 14 November 2008, Belfast Telegraph (Northern Ireland)
- Officer faces charge over song title quip - Shot barrister's family distressed by 'crass' remark, 5 March 2011, The Times (London, England)
- Lucksmiths capture crowd, 6 May 2005, The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
- Twee pop? Sweet!, 6 July 2006, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- Lucksmiths stick with it - 'Charming' Aussie band matures, yet still 'not trying to conform', 5 May 2005, The Grand Rapids Press (MI)
- Another One Bites the Dust - Our obituaries for the music we're finally ready to bury, 28 April 2006, LA Alternative (Los Angeles)
- Luck runs out for Lucksmiths, 20 August 2009, Hobart Mercury (Australia)
- The Go-Betweens (supported by Sophie Koh), 30 July 2005, The Age (Melbourne, Australia)
- "UMT list'98". Web.aanet.com.au. Retrieved 2014-06-30.