Luluc: Sculptor review – Acclaimed indie duo tread water on third album

Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 05:00

   
Luluc: As good as they can be, at times, Sculptor treads water rather than sparkles  

Album:
Sculptor

Artist:
Luluc

Label:
Sub Pop

Genre:
Alternative

Luluc are a Melbourne-born and Brooklyn-based duo that caused a huge stir with their second album, Passerby, in 2014. Lucinda Williams, the blue-chip producer Joe Boyd, and Ireland’s favourite indie band, The National, all became vocal champions, with The National’s frontman, Matt Berninger, revealing that Passerby was the only album he listened to for months on end.

Consequently, Berninger’s bandmate Aaron Dessner produces the third album from Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett, and other special guests include Jim White of The Dirty Three, and the Dinosaur Jr guitar genius J Mascis.  

Sculptor consists of 10 stark, modern folk songs that further cement Luluc’s reputation as one of the better acts dabbling in indie-folk and alternative Americana.

Randell has a gorgeous voice, slightly reminiscent of that of Mimi Parker of Low. On songs such as Kids, her vocals glide and soar. On Controversy, she changes tone and shifts gear ever so slightly but deftly sounds like a completely different singer.

As good as they can be, at times, Sculptor treads water rather than sparkles. Luluc are a thoroughly pleasant contemporary folk act, but not yet singular or distinct enough to be a really essential one.