Back in 2001, Lazy Susan burst onto the scene with their debut album Long Lost, touting the catchy-as-all-heck singles “Bobby Fischer” and “Canada”, and quickly earning props for their classic-sounding pop songs. Nearly ten years, and another two albums later, the Sydney band is still quietly flying the pop music flag.
Places That Made Us is, like the band itself, a hidden gem in the plethora of great albums released in 2010. Packed with succinct, instantly catchy songs, their fourth studio album is another representation of what Lazy Susan does best: concise guitar pop songs with charming vocal melodies and harmonies, all wrapped up in organic flavours, warm hooks, lively piano and guitars.
The 15 songs featured on the album (whittled down from a recorded set of 20) span around 15 years of songwriting, but there is a timelessness about them that transcends the expanse. Whether it’s the punchy, piano-driven energetic single “Find Me A Way Back Into Your Heart”, the raw and wrenching acoustic balladry of “Ghost”, the casual piano melodies of “Easy Targets”, or the mellow acoustic pop of “Expecting to Change”, Places That Made Us manages to not only sound fresh, but remarkably warm and familiar. Power-pop aficiando and fellow local muso Michael Carpenter is the perfect choice as producer of this album, his own finely honed musical sense showing a complementary influence on the ‘Susans.
Lazy Susan’s charm is that they aren’t trying to diverge from a sound or push the music into more hybrid-genre territory (with the possible exception of the Casio beat-laden/video-game flavoured “Stardust Hotel”). This is back-to-basics pop music at its finest, and it is made all the better because it’s home-grown and Australian made.
Review score: 8.5/10