Lime Cordiale: 14 Steps to a Better You (Chugg Music/digital platforms)

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Lime Cordiale: 14 Steps to a Better You (Chugg Music/digital platforms)

Some years ago a friend observed how many young bands were named after cuddly animals like pandas or rabbits or whatever. His conclusion: the kids in bands were going soft and inoffensive, just wanna be liked.

I agreed.

There was a fair bit of lightweight and twee pop out there, alongside the sleeve-sucking singer-songwriters . . . most of which didn't get written about at Elsewhere because they were just dull. And just wanted to be liked.

So this Australian band (healthy-looking multi-instrumentalist brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach plus pals) with a name which aims for the bland, doesn't sound that appealing before the needle drops.

However, as someone with a shameless love of uplifting and often emotionally empty pop music, power pop and such, Lime Cordiale come as a refreshing respite from all those more mature and Serious Artist people who use music as their therapy, to virtue signal or show how socially aware they are.

To quote Aldous Huxley: "It is vulgar, in literature, to make a display of emotions which you do not naturally have but think you ought to have, because all the best people do have them".

Words for the woke, and those who think signing an online petition is political action? 

You can read important books and articles, be empathetic and engaged with the world, consider the albums of these serious artists (or those who take themselves seriously), be aware of their emotional struggles or battle to get the album made . . ..

As we usually do.

But frankly, every now and again it's refreshing to step away from these artists (many of them rich, privileged and full of special pleading) and just listen to pop music which is breezy, vacuous and doesn't take itself too earnestly like . . .

Lime Cordiale perhaps, who here have interesting lyrics (real smart actually) but their delivery system is based on acoustic-framed songs pushed up a notch and with pop-shimmer surfaces which sometimes belie their words (check We Just Get By).

So the music is clever  and sometimes slightly familiar pop and while the song title Addicted to the Sunshine might seem to sum them up, there is more going on behind that dialed-down, West Coast-style harmony pop.

They do a neat line in disco-lite dance on Money (Louis' bass-lines everywhere are very smart), Dear London is a gloomy pop song of dreams denied in that city of rock at the end of the rainbow, and even if Robbery is hardly brimming over with innovation it is effervescent and snappy.

We could do without the reggae-rap of Screw Loose and the tedious Elephant in the Room, because 14 Steps to a Better You with 14 songs seems too long (the Beatles delivered 14 in about 37 minutes, these guys need another quarter hour).

Lime Cordiale are a pop group who have something to say to a more mature audience than their name suggests (the instantly recognisable, singalong chorus but socio-polical observation of No Plans to Make Plans).

But are also much as their Italianate name indicates: this album is refreshing, light, often translucent, a bit tart and enjoyable while it lasts.


You can hear this album at Spotify here.

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