A welcome surprise came a few days ago in the form of a new song from Lucky Soul, a band that has been sorely missed. They were last heard from on 2010's A Coming Of Age, an album that matured and expanded the meticulous retro pop sounds of their 2007 debut, The Great Unwanted. On both albums, they produced pop music that had hooks to spare, with heartfelt lyrics that were both wry and earnest.
Six years on from their last release, '(Hurts Like A) Bee Sting' shows their pop chops are not at all rusty. The effortless hooks, the level of songcraft and Ali Howard's distinctive voice, sounding better than ever, make this recognisably Lucky Soul, but there are some new flavours here as well. The downbeat disco style is a new sound for them, but as usual, they try on genre not for the sake of it, but because it fits the song's mood. They also get more political in their lyrics (not entirely surprising for a band who have a song about Billy Bragg): "Didn't take you so long / From the back room to the boys' club / Into the quarters of the king".
This is apparently from a 7" but there is no word on a release of that yet. There are also hints of a new album in the works; on social media, they cryptically posted coordinates that fans deduced were the location a mastering studio. Here's hoping that comes sooner than later; now they've whet my appetite, I miss them even more.