remember the lucksmiths: sunlight in a jar
  • THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2009

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There was always something about the Lucksmiths, the simplistic beauty and unbelievable wit and pop perfection of their music. Those songs that become the soundtrack of summer nights falling asleep to tears or memories, sunny afternoons in sparse parks populated with swings and dandelions, songs for mixtapes, for bedrooms, for holding hands and singalongs underneath the fireworks, for Scrabble and road trips, pool sides and break ups, library books and every little or great moment in between.

Perhaps it was a touch of something, in lead singer Tali's voice, in his subtle Australian accent, an intimate understanding. Or the warm guitars and melodies themselves, like the steam from a cup of hot tea on a winter night. These weren't just songs, but songs written for you, and with the rush of strings, with Tali's words, they became so much more. Like moments captured, like summer in "The Year of Driving Languorously," like the time passed and lovers lost in "A Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco," like the pure joy in the simple delights of "T-Shirt Weather," a song so free, so unpretentious, so perfect a representation for that first warm sunny day, that hopeless optimism. Like lyrics that resonate so long after, the characters and names in songs that disappear with the song but not from your mind. It was beautiful and effortless and geniune and distant all at once, and when you listened to one song and that perfect chorus hit at the same time as the emotions you so desperately tried to express, it didn't need to be anything more.

And they were definitely that, the sort of band you heard one brilliant song from and fell in love with, so it was going through their catalogue and sorting through old albums and EPs, and in each one there was a gem like it. That one song turned into a repeated favorite, and friends easily fell in love too. It was impossible not to love The Lucksmiths, impossible not to relate the sentiments captured with their generous melodies, their sprinkled warmth and indie pop as indiepop was meant to be, pure and delightful and ironic and charming all at once. And for those late nights, too, when the sky looked bleak except for the two stars, and from your headphones trembled the story of the girl from Kansas with the tattoo that read "Fiction," because she sometimes needed reminding what she wanted to be doing, whether reading it or writing, her story seemed written for you. The comfort that siezed you like the softest angel feather blankets and the calm, like the black of the sky outside felt irreplacable.

So, sixteen years after creating these gorgeous masterpieces, each a personal treasure wrapped and hidden, The Lucksmiths have disbanded and said their sad farewell. They leave the songs from the past, songs so perfect that perhaps they don't need anything more. These songs will be here, waiting, in soft pencil sketches and poetry written on scraps of napkins, joy enclosed in dew drops on fresh budding leaves or the chlorine blue sky. Like the sort of love captured in one of the band's most marvelous pop songs, "Sunlight in a Jar," the love that The Lucksmiths inspire isa pure, real, fluttering thing, the kind that is made and not handed to you from above. The kind that lingers long after the band itself, the kind that sneaks its way in between clasped lovers' hands, golden smiles, flushed cheeks and a melted heart, impossible to capture but impossible to forget. Just like catching sunlight in a jar. -Laura Yan

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