“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” - Molière
“Not art and science only, but patience will be required for the work.” - Goethe
It has been more than a decade since Zöe Randell and Steve Hassett found each other, both being of Australian origin, in Scotland. Back then, Zöe was working in the Edinburgh Festival, while Steve was travelling itinerant with his guitar through Europe. Out of this fortuitous union a deep musical relationship came out, in which Zöe and Steve kept on composing and singing as a duet until, when they returned to Australia, their paths headed in different directions, different jobs, studios and bands. It wasn’t until later when a new fortuitous incident, this time a tragic one, made Randell decide to return to music for good. And who better than her old colleague to have as editor and contributor.
From this return Luluc is born, a reference which perfectly defines the journey of this duet from Melbourne, now settled in Brooklyn. Call it destiny, coincidence, or a simple “being at the right time in the right place”; Randell and Hassett have known how to thicken that set of possibilities into success and a quality which surprised even artists themselves. We find the result of this maturing process in Passerby, released at the beginning of the summer. Since that debut in 2088 with Dear Hamlyn, a tribute to Randell’s late father, the Australian have kept an acoustic style, calm, low-tempo. An invitation to a rest and to a harmony and a synchronization which reproduces from the very first moment in which we go from the whispering choruses and the double bass in Small Window which marks the opening of the album, to the serrated beating in Without a Face.
A harmony that is translated into the conjunction of a sweet voice, but with body and a somewhat rough texture, along with the acoustic and instrumental arrangements by Hassett, which adorn and embellish the accompaniment in chorus and other instruments. The final formula could fit within folk in most occasions, with a face-to-face component of rock, as can be perceived in Tangled Heart and with a certain indie touch. With respect to the lyrics section, Passerby offers us a description of landscapes and familiar and imaginary characters which revolve around transcendental thoughts of love, loss and melancholic nostalgia. The echo of Nick Drake’s footsteps resounds in the work of Luluc. No wonder, for precisely two of his songs were added to Way To Blue, a tribute album to this icon of alternative folk.
It should be noted, on the other hand, that Passerby, as its name implies, is an album from which one cannot expect distress. The formula is correct and elegant and it keeps an attentive care of details and arrangements around Randell’s vocal richness, but it is at fault in excessive uniformity. It is this very aspect, however, that allows for a continuous listening of the album, which often emerges from an emotional need of balance, a need Passerby is capable of satisfying.
Translation by Irene Soto.