The brand new record from Little Scout is a collection of life affirming pop music aptly titled “Are You Life” – as far as second albums go this is a fantastic step forward with the band delving deeper into the history of music to give some beautiful new dynamics to their dream pop sound.
There is an excitement to this record, the kind of excitement that exists on a Sunday morning when you wake with a satisfied mind. The album washes over you with a gleam of sunshine but still resonates with that part of you that sighs with melancholy over your morning chai tea. The mess and dilemmas of life have given you a day off to reflect so that you can resurrect and summons some kind of strength to face the week ahead. There is total escapism rolling in and out of each groovy swoon and each song connects to your disappointments but also your heavy optimism. There is something incredibly cinematic about this record and it is best consumed on your headphones just so you can pick up all of the subtle little flourishes of sound that help give maximum volume to the emotional sway of the vocals.
Lyrically and melodically this album is sublime, with every little note moving in and out of the songs like a beautiful breeze of melancholy and sweet summer afternoon sunshine. The joy and the pain all intertwines to give a very distinctive narrative to each song selling the drama of a late twenties crisis in faith and how sometimes there is satisfaction in confusion. The beautiful part about the lyrical journey is although it is quite obvious that these songs have stories and meanings behind them they still remain so open for you to adapt it to your own life. All great songwriters draw from the deep sigh swirling inside of them but in doing so they birth a resonance in the listeners through not being direct but by being mysterious. This process can be both conscious and unconscious on the artists behalf but regardless of the writers intent it is the mystery that gives the music the spook to send that shiver down your spine and to connect directly to your own emotions so that your only response as a listener is to inhale and then silently exhale the murmured response of “I know exactly what they are talking about.” This is when music provides a rush unlike any other human experience and on “Are You Life” Little Scout provides this on quite an epic scale.
One particular song that I found myself returning to over and over again was “Day” which is soaked in so much beauty and heartache that I become so intrigued as to what was fuelling this beautiful pop song. The song rises and falls like a fractured relationship and carries the sound of two humans drifting apart when they still feel so fond of each other. I have no idea what this song was meant to be about but I totally connect it to the sound, that terrible silent sound of human relationships falling apart and a communication once filled with love now being peppered with bitterness and emptiness. The sentimental sway of disconnection as you question just how important is love when it hurts so much to participate in it with another human being. A very powerful song that will be featured on a lot of my upcoming mix cds for other humans I hope to connect with, the sign of a good song and a great record.
In the end, “Are You Life” is an album proper with a journey that takes you through many different emotional landscapes. When the final notes ring out on “Don’t Teach Me To Sing” you know you have experienced something quite special from a band who value the craft of songwriting over the need for fame and celebrity. This record is an important addition to every serious music fans collection because it so beautifully crafted and emotionally deep to the point where I don’t think I’ll be leaving the house without in the next few weeks.
I’ve labelled a lot of bands as “Shiver Pop” over the last year, it is a term that I invented in order to catalogue all of the spooky pop music that I love to listen to and when it comes to Brisbane, Qld, Straylia I think it is quite clear that Little Scout are the humans who best embody all this genre tag represents and with “Are You Life” they have made a Shiver Pop masterpiece.
10 Cassette Tapes Out of 10
By: Dan Newton