Review: Little Scout ‘Take Your Light’

Brisbane band Little Scout certainly can’t be accused of rushing into their debut full-length album. Since emerging onto the Australian music scene in late 2008 (see a very old post here from Who The Hell for a bit of nostalgia), Little Scout have released two EPs and a steady stream of new tracks, but haven’t taken the leap into LP-dom until now, with ‘Take Your Light’.

They certainly haven’t wasted those three years however, touring with international bands such as Belle And Sebastian and The New Pornographers, as well as building friendships with heaps of Australian bands. And it feels as if Little Scout have used everything at their disposal in crafting the most intricate and enjoyable debut album that they possibly could, including these friendships: the album was produced by Scott Bromiley of the John Steel Singers and recorded in Jonathan Boulet’s garage.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that when you combine talent, patience, and fine company, you get nothing short of an impeccable record.

Opening track In The Air immediately sets the tone for the rest of ‘Take Your Light’, building slowly from a restrained introduction to lead singer Melissa Tickle’s haunting and delicate vocals that are definitely the key driving element behind much of the music here. By the two-minute mark when the drums kick in properly for the first time, you’re well and truly hooked.

The album passes in a hazy, enjoyable, relaxing blur. Little Scout’s music somehow straddles the line between dream and pop that the genre of dream pop seems ironically to so often miss. At the same time as it’s cathartic and relaxing, the songs here are also hooky as all hell, with plenty of upbeat melodies and powerful percussion. We Are Walking Out is a bona fide pop gem, structured around a piercing bass line and lovely harmonised vocals.

The album’s more ethereal moments lose none of the listenability of the rest of the record, either. The title track for example is a ghostly and slow number, especially when followed by You Will Fold, a restrained instrumental number, but it still feels accessible and fun, despite being layered, intricate, and fairly introverted. I really do think that this balance between shoegaze and pop tendencies is the greatest strength of ‘Take Your Light’.

A few tracks here will be familiar to fans of the band, not the least of which is Dead Loss, a simply mesmerising number that is probably my favourite song on the record. But there are hidden gems to discover all throughout the album: not just whole songs either, but concealed little guitar riffs or harmonising vocals that you inevitably miss during your first few listens. It’s a surprisingly dense and complex album considering how ethereal it feels, and this can be attributed to the record’s quite simply flawless production.

There’s nothing negative to be said about this album. It succeeds spectacularly in creating an atmosphere that is decidedly otherworldly but yet not sacrificing accessibility and pop hooks. It’s an escapist’s record, for those that want to be taken to some other place entirely for forty minutes or so. This music is that beautiful and that powerful.

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