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Review: 'Lodger, The'
'Cul-De-Sac of Love'   

-  Label: 'Philophobia Music'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '12th March 2020'

Our Rating:
Leeds act The Lodger have been away for some time – a full decade, in fact. And so the arrival of ‘Cul-De-Sac of Love’, emerging from the depths of eternal lockdown, comes as something of a surprise. The trio serve up 13 new songs, which are testament to the power of creative drive surmounting obstacles of distance, with the added benefits of modern technology. The press release recounts how they ‘felt the pull early in 2020 to work on some new songs Ben had written and got together in Bruce’s shed with a handful of mics and spent a few days rehearsing and recording the rhythm tracks… From March 2020 in isolation Ben added the guitars, keyboards and vocals in his spare room at home in Ilkley and mixed the final record’.
Said songs are big on melody and are, for the most part, quintessential jangly indie of a Northern persuasion – meaning that while ‘Cul-De-Sac of Love’ is a shade winsome and airy, it’s also got strong undercurrents of darkness, of sadness, or melancholy, of heartbreak, running throughout. The title track is entirely representative, a goodbye wave breakup song pitched against a chiming back and forth.

‘Dual Lives’ and ‘I’m Over This (Get Over it)’ bring a white soul / funk edge to the sound, and the chorus is propelled by an insistent beat. Writing that makes me think of Steve Dennis’ ‘Embarrassing Dad’ character in The Mary Whitehouse Experience, pronouncing ‘it’s got a good beat’ and busting abysmal dance moves in a tank top. The songs are quite compelling in a nagging, repetitive way, with heavy hints of Orange Juice and Gang of Four at their poppier.

Elsewhere, lightweight indie tunes like ‘Stop that Girl!’, ‘I Think I’ll Start Again’, and the more downbeat ‘I Don’t Wanna Be It’ are pleasant but very much by-numbers post-Smiths, Housemartins-hued janglesome jaunts.

It’s accomplished and perfectly executed, and existing fans will love it. Whether it will win any new converts is debatable: it feels very much like an album locked in a bygone indie era, and its appeal is likely to be limited to those who are equally tied to the mid-80s indie sound.
  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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