For Fans Of
Luca Brasi have always stuck to their guns across their career, and ‘Stay‘ – the follow-up to 2016’s ‘If This Is All We’re Going To Be‘ – has the same honesty, earnestness and heart flowing through its veins as the rest of the Tassie band’s back catalogue. There is, however, some fatigue creeping into the band’s sound, and some identifying markers here and there to help separate ‘Stay‘ from other (better) Luca Brasi records would not have gone astray.
It’s interesting, then, to read the band’s press release that came with ‘Stay‘: “as they find their feet planted further into the ground, the realities of life have begun to settle in, but in true Luca style they have found a way to embrace what some consider limitations with positivity and open hearts, and from that mindset; their new album “Stay” was born.” For me, this sentiment was reflected not only sonically on ‘Stay but in the way it is content to settle further into what they have forged over past releases. This is not necessarily something that drags the album down, but it does detract from the listening experience somewhat, given the constant nagging thought of “wait, haven’t I heard this all before?”
This said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what Luca Brasi have going for them at the moment. Having seen the band twice at this point, it’s evident that the warmth and hominess present on their records is no mistake or feat of studio trickery; their presence and songwriting is genuine in its evocation of positivity and mutuality. And ‘Stay‘ continues the trend full speed ahead. The band also has an undeniable affinity for melodies that land perfectly, with singer Tyler Richardson’s Paul Kelly-esque Aussie drawl delivering all the highlights with equal passion and sensitivity. There are moments on ‘Stay‘ that stand up head and shoulders with some of the band’s best previous work, like sections of ‘The In Between‘, ‘Collisions‘ and ‘Time Flew‘.
The reason these melodies work so well is in no small part due to the way they interact with the smart guitar work that makes up the structural soul of the record. It’s fitting that they will be travelling around the country shortly with Tiny Moving Parts, a band whose sound is almost entirely driven by Dylan Mattheisen’s own six strings of fire, because while the guitar playing is not nearly as much the focus as it is on a Tiny Moving Parts LP, its melodic role is equally as important to the overall impact of Luca Brasi’s music. This is what sets Luca Brasi apart from a lot of their Australian contemporaries; their affinity for melody not simply to sing along to, but to burrow into your subconscious through subtle and supportive guitar compositions. Praise for that must go to the Brasi stringmen, Thomas Busby and Patrick Marshall.
What drew me in most about the band’s last effort, ‘If This Is All We’re Going To Be‘, was a sense of melancholy that ran through that entire record, and came to a head on the excellent last two tracks, ‘Anything Near Conviction‘ and ‘Count Me Out‘. Disappointingly, this was largely lacking from my experience with ‘Stay‘, and whether or not that is any fault of my own for bringing those expectations in with me, it was something that I felt like I’d missed out on. Not only that, but without that or something similar to differentiate it from the other Luca Brasi records, it left me a little cold on ‘Stay‘ in that there was nothing particular about it that stands out. Of course, everything that is great about the band’s sound is present and accounted for here, and if you’re a fan of the band you’ll likely be satisfied by what it has to offer. Outside of that, ‘Stay is just more of the same.
Simply by being a Luca Brasi record, there’s plenty to like about ‘Stay’. Given their track record, this isn’t so much a dip in quality as it is a gentle leaning back on the work that they’ve done to get where they are today. Honest and charming, there’s more than enough to keep you interested and invested, but outside of that first listen there wasn’t enough to keep me personally wanting to come back like other Brasi records have in the past. However, you should definitely chuck any of these tracks on your punk rock playlists,; those choruses will pretty much all belong on there within the next few months.
Let It Slip
The In Between
Got To Give
Clothes I Slept In
The Calm and the Ease
‘Stay’ is out now via Cooking Vinyl Australia!