Click to hear: “Crystalfck”
Let’s let the artist introduce this review himself…
“For the past nine years, fans of Andrew Luckless might have assumed he was dead,” Luckless writes in the press release accompanying his new album, 2 Ghosts in Gravy. “In 2002, upon releasing his fifth CD (an odd concept album about werewolves) he quietly drove his solo career over a cliff.”
But sure enough, Luckless is back, “reborn” this past New Year’s Day, as he puts it. “I’ve been reluctant to make a new album until I felt I was really outdoing myself,” he says.
Andrew, consider yourself outdone.
2 Ghosts is thoroughly wonderful. These smart, catchy, funny and strange songs will win you over at first listen and keep you coming back to discover new delights.
To wit: the lyrics contain allusions not only to past Luckless songs but to other songs on this album and more. (If you’re a graduate student planning to write your dissertation on Luckless’ oeuvre — or not — you can download all six albums, going back to 1995’s Mo•lec•u•lar, free of charge at luckless.net.)
Luckless didn’t completely disappear from the Maine music scene last decade. In 2008, he produced an excellent solo album by Garrett Soucy of Tree By Leaf, recording as Sunlight in Architecture. He’s also been producing and playing live with the Belfast punk rock band Full Contact Kitty — or FCK (get it?), referenced here on the track “Crystalfck,” a danceable song that sounds more like Feel It Robot, a Bangor band that’s gigged with FCK. “Sick robot, eat / Here’s a bag of rivets,” goes one line from that song (see what I mean about the allusions?).
And he’s clearly spent a lot of time on this album. Luckless wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, recorded and produced 2 Ghosts himself. The songs sound fantastic, full of bright acoustic guitar, driving fuzz bass, weird keyboard lines and layers of vocals. Luckless has an engaging voice with a Nilsson-like range, dipping into the lower register on the rocky opener “Our Plaything,” reaching for a fragile falsetto on the beautiful ballad “Eileen.”
There are nearly as many styles as songs on this 13-track album. “Kill Me Some More” is tongue-in-cheek rap, “No Recipe” is punk, “Brown Beetle” goes psych-pop, “2Fish” is folky. Nothing’s predictable, and almost everything entertains.
The last couple tracks fall off a bit. “Off My Oceanliner,” the longest song here at over four minutes, and the sound-collage closer, “Dangerfish,” will test your patience. If you paid even a cent for either song, you might care. But seeing’s how Luckless is giving you almost a dozen other wonders for free, you’re just grateful.
Welcome back, Andrew. And thank you very much.
— Chris Busby
For more by Luckless, visit luckless.net. A limited number of hand-printed, aluminum-cased CDs are available at Roots & Tendrils in Belfast.