Album Review – Lost in the Woods by The Smallgoods (Lost & Lonesome)
There was a time in the 2000s, long before the trendies decided that it was now all hipster to listen to inferior quality sounds clicking and popping away on a vinyl disc that you have to re-mortgage your house to afford and pick up with feather tweezers to ensure it did not get scratched on your ridiculously expensive turntable.
Those were the days when perfect sound quality CDs ruled the roost and people did not have to sell a kidney to buy them. It was a time when real band’s like Melbourne’s, The Smallgoods, ruled the roost releasing two immense albums, Listen to the Radio (2003) and Down on The Farm (2007).
They then disappeared / stop releasing after 2007, hipsters starting posting videos on Facebook / YouTube of brightly coloured vinyl spinning on turntables and the beautiful, handy, cost effective, CD began to disappear, along with the simple musical times that The Smallgoods music was so evocative of.
Thankfully they are back, albeit with a choice of white vinyl, black vinyl or white vinyl and T-Shirt or black vinyl and T-Shirt combinations. Although the fact there is no CD available means they are not attempting to give us back a sense of 2000s retro, at least we can be consoled that their music is still very inimitably ‘their sound of yesteryear’.
Essentially, Lost in the Woods, is the sound of jangly folk/psyche-rock trained through just about every pertinent semblance of Australiana. The best of the album, perhaps resides in the tracks that are most disparate to the remaining vibe.
Here, On With The Show and Hurry Up and Cool Down thread a Cool Sounds sense of infectious guitar-pop through 70s pop kitsch. Of course the mixture with psyche makes the sound feel less playful amd more dense than their Melbourne counterparts, but the vibrancy is similar.
Other Australian indie-pop dignitaries / inferences are also very much present, with traditional The Go-Betweens style indie-pop of Where’ve You Been All This Time morphing itself with a classic rock juxtaposition that should not work but does, in Satellite, whereas The Mirror visits the emotionality and isolation of The Triffids aesthetic.
In an era where the jangle-pop genre threatens to be taken over by people intent on forcing gaze upon it, The Smallgoods are back with their inimitable sense of perfect simplicity.