Lime Cordiale – ‘14 Steps To A Better You’ review: freewheeling experiments with beating heart

After tasting success, the Leimbach brothers turn out a more refined record that shows they’re ready for more

On Lime Cordiale’s 2017 debut ‘Permanent Vacation’, the Sydney duo had escapism on their minds: a flurry of growing pains, lofty ambitions and the belief that there was something better in store for them left them wanting to flee their mundane everyday. Luckily, they didn’t need to wait for long, and the next three years were full of chaotic, joyous live shows around the globe.

Rather than chasing more of the same, on ‘14 Steps To A Better You’ Oli and Louis Leimbach compile a scrapbook of lessons learnt and hearts broken. It’s more refined, more considered but still inspires excitement at every starry-eyed turn. By reimagining self-help books – with a smirk – they put power in the hands of the listener.

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The opening snap of ‘That’s Life’ marks an expansion of their daydream sound. Trying to lift you out of a dreary “lazy Monday” ambivalence and inspire action with a funky carpe diem swagger, Lime Cordiale promise that regrets will come from “the things you haven’t done” before ending the track with a chuckle. “That’s life,” they smile, before the soulful attack of ‘Robbery’ comes swinging into focus. Taking the lyrical snarl of 2000s indie, all street smarts and gritty determination, but adding horns and a laid-back jazz sway, it’s more interested in throwing shapes than punches.

‘Robbery’ isn’t the only track on the album that blends vastly different inspirations with a hedonistic chuckle. ‘Screw Loose’ builds into a fairground rave, but not before echoing the rapid-fire fury of Twenty One Pilots; ‘No Plans To Make Plans’ finds a middle ground between the leather jacket strut of Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Four Out Of Five’ and ‘We Could Have Been Anything’ from the Bugsy Malone musical, with a kazoo solo thrown in for good measure.

Elsewhere ‘Inappropriate Behaviour’ cuts Beach Boys-esque sunshine optimism with teenage angst and ‘Can’t Take All The Blame’ explodes a twinkling, 16-bit arcade soundtrack. The closing spoken word declaration dances in the aftermath before the band hang up the phone and move onto the next adventure.

And despite the freewheeling sonic experiments, ‘14 Steps To A Better You’ never lets go of the beating heart that’s made relatable stars of Lime Cordiale. There’s the rainy breakup anthem of ‘Dear London’, all wistful and longing, and the self-love anthem of ‘Following Fools’ while the swaying, Rex Orange County-inspired ‘We Just Get By’ hears the band sing, “dreams don’t come true, they changed when I met you”.

Lime Cordiale are determined to use their newfound platform as best they can. ‘Addicted To The Sunshine’ takes aim at people who do nothing to help stop climate change: “If I sit on my ass, will the world still go ’round? I’m stuck to my habits, I know I’m not alone,” they wonder. Across the album, the band champion the idea of embracing the unknown. Our advice for a better you? Listen to Lime Cordiale.

Details

Lime Cordiale new album 14 Steps to a Better You

  • Release Date: July 10
  • Record Label: Chugg Music
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