Luluc - Passerby

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Melbourne indie-folk duo Luluc moved to New York City in 2010. Now, they present Passerby, a restrained collection of tender songs.

Nothing about Luluc happens quickly. From their formation, to the release of their debut album, Dear Hamlyn (2008), to the six years wait between that record and this follow-up, there's something very considered about the way Luluc operate.

It shows here. Every word uttered by Zoë Randell sounds as if it's been well thought out. Every time Steve Hassett joins her in harmony it's practically perfect but not predictable. The duo's sense of melody and harmony is inventive but pleasant enough that it takes deep listening to realise.

Passerby is completely understated. Randell's lyrics are often quite friendly, but the way they're presented frequently makes them sound gloomy. The darkness of the duo's music is where much of the beauty is, though, and it gives these songs layers; there's more to them than a casual listen may suggest.

Almost exactly halfway through the record, in 'Tangled Heart', the previously hushed horns become loud and the scant percussion is ditched for a full drum kit. This mightn't seem like much in the context of a normal album, but it's telling on Passerby. Luluc wait until the album is halfway done to break away from the quiet restraint they regularly deal in and prove their crescendo is worth waiting for.

Randell and Hassett have kept busy in the interim six years between releases. They've met, befriended and supported the likes of Lucinda Williams and The National, relocated to New York City and signed with Sub Pop Records in the US.

It was The National's Aaron Dessner who helped the band realise their ultimate goal on Passerby. Luluc had attempted to make the record before they'd left Melbourne, but started again after Dessner offered them his studio and, later, his production services.

With a record like Passerby, the virtue of patience is invaluable. Listen to it now, but take some time to savour it.

Listen to Luluc's Passerby in full from 2pm Wednesday.

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