An album review for The Weekend Australian, published on August 11.
Dappled Cities - Lake Air
Four albums into a career that blossomed with the release of second LP Granddance in 2006, Sydney quintet Dappled Cities here present their most accomplished collection. Granddance brought the band into the national consciousness via a string of outstanding singles; Lake Air is a complete work, one so good it deserves to take Dappled Cities much further.
This is indie pop at its best: an extension of the songwriting heard on 2009′s Zounds, yet twice as remarkable in every way. Dappled Cities opt for a lean 10 tracks, 42 minutes’ worth, and not a moment is wasted. The first six tracks – bookended by singles ‘Run with the Wind’ and ‘Born at the Right Time’ – are of such a high quality that the remaining four sound merely good in comparison.
Lake Air is the sound of a band at the peak of its creative powers. Instrumentally, lyrically and melodically, this album is one of the best you’ll hear all year. There are many moments of pure pop joy, yet these are tempered by a subtlety and nuance that eludes many of their peers.
The title track is masterful: underscored by a chorus wherein dual vocalists Tim Derricourt and Dave Rennick sing in uncharacteristically low tones. Both of them usually prefer higher registers. It’s the best single song they’ve recorded. Penultimate track ‘Waves’ is a sparse piano-and-vocals affair that sticks out like a sore thumb yet also acts as a contrasting reminder that Lake Air is, at its heart, a stunning set of songs. It’s an inspired release from one of Australia’s best pop bands. They’re only getting better.
RATING: 4 ½ stars