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Lodger, The - Life is Sweet Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7
Musicianship 6.75
Lyrics 7.75
Production 7
Creativity 6.5
Lasting Value 6.75
Reviewer Tilt 7.25
Final Verdict: 70%
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Lodger, The - Life is Sweet

Reviewed by: Susan Frances (08/13/08)
The Lodger - Life is Sweet
Record Label: Slumberland Records
Release Date: May 27, 2008

Leeds, England’s atmospheric folk-pop trio The Lodger create music that is both steep in England’s shoegaze heritage and bonds with contemporary indie-pop music. The band’s latest release, Life is Sweet, which is the follow up to their 2007 debut record, Grown-Ups is bathed in synth textured atmospherics reminiscent of ‘80s shoegaze and folk-tempered harmonies liken to modern pop’s Ben Lee and Spoon. The Lodger’s album has avant-pop crystals slightly hedgerow in country-folk foliage. The silky threading of lead singer/guitarist Ben Siddall is delicately pressed by the rhythmic incisions of bassist Joe Margetts and drummer Bruce Renshaw. The trio’s music is submersed in avant atmospherics and tweaked by grains of folk-pop.

The cool rhythmic grooves and new wave tinted hooks of “the Good Old Days” are relatable to Le Concorde’s sonic swells, and the spokes of low keyed bass notes plucked along “Running Low” are engulfed in breezy guitar strokes and gently ruffled drum loops. The music is good, clean, fun pop inducing a deep slumber in certain tracks like the softly swaying strums of “Falling Down” and the country-tinged trimmings and wispy violins of “Honey.” The brisk shuffling gait of “A Year since Last Summer” is robed in twittering lights along the chord rotations and an upbeat tempo with doddering drum beats. The movements have a comfy bobble to them like in “The Conversation” and “My Finest Hour,” and at other times the flaccid mobility of the melodic layers are garbed in country-folk sparkles with a trundle that drags like in “An Unwelcome Guest” and “Famous Last Words.”

The lyrics are personal reflections that sum up individual events in one’s life showing human vulnerability in the verses like in “The Good Old Days” when Siddall muses, “All those days / Wasting time /We used to spend / Away from each other / And I can’t believe it / Could it be the start of something / Could it be the end of a phase / Could it be the start of the future / Could it be the good old days.” The Lodger’s music feels flexible with avant-driven atmospherics and pop confections that move along an upbeat pulse in “The Good Old Days,” and sometimes the band soaks that clothe into country-folk washes like in “Nothing Left to Say.”

The Lodger’s music shows a looseness relatable to Yo La Tengo and melodic sensibilities liken to Le Concorde. The trio’s latest release, Life is Sweet has a college radio newness to it with avant-pop shingles lining their atmospherics and folk-pop sparks that update traditional folksy cadences. The Lodger’s music has relations to Spoon without sounding like Spoon, instead they found their own identifiable sound and work within that domain.

Recommended if you like:Ben Lee, Le Concorde, Yo La Tengo, Spoon

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