Released midway through his national tour, Lucas Laufen’s debut EP, Goodbye, makes a timely arrival this month, with its underlying melancholic sound ready to ease us reassuringly into autumn. It would be hard to guess that the Australian-born songwriter recorded these tracks in his sunny coastal hometown last year, just before uprooting and heading to the German capital.
The lyrics betray a feeling that will chime with many young wanderers
Though his home by the ocean was a big influence on Laufen’s writing, there’s undeniably something about his mournful, often spine-tingling voice in songs such as ‘Dead Days’ that evokes the encroaching chill of Berlin outside the window. The lyrics betray a feeling that will chime with many young wanderers embarking on a journey away from their ancestral homeland: ‘If I forget this, I’ll forget me’.
Folk without the rousing campfire refrains of the genre’s banjo-toting megastars
The intricate guitar-plucking throughout perfectly complements Laufen’s layered vocals, and bar the addition of a double bass and a solitary trumpet interlude (a throw-back to the singer’s first instrumental excursion, aged ten), there’s little need for anything other than the formula that undoubtedly works best for him: man and guitar.
This is folk without the rousing campfire refrains of the genre’s banjo-toting megastars, and the subtleties perhaps owe more to those across the Atlantic like Fleet Foxes or Iron & Wine than any stalwarts of the British scene.
Either way, Goodbye is a smart and often moving debut, and gives a promising flavour of the future full-length to come.