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The acoustic genre has been under something of a crisis in recent years, its folk roots ravaged by the likes of mainstream acoustic crooners Ed Sheeran and Ben Howard. YouTube is awash with hormonal teenagers covering every Taylor Swift and Mumford and Sons song to grace the Top 40, while others carve careers from stripping the emotion out of truly heart-yearning acoustic numbers (we're looking at you Birdy). It is harder than ever, then, for a new artist to make a name for themselves when they wield little more than a good voice and an acoustic guitar, purely because it's so likely to sound like everything else. Australian duo Luluc have that something special needed to break away from the bland hordes of faux-folk pop, demonstrating it in stunning fashion on sophomore LP Passerby.

It is a record that softly comforts while simultaneously yanking on the heartstrings, willing the listener into a cosy slumber. Whether it be the gorgeous slow-burning melodies of the title-track, or the discovery of beauty in the mundane on 'Tangled Heart', this is a record that lullabies as much as it does enrapture. Part of this success lies in that it doesn't solely rely on one form of instrumentation, bringing in a wide variety of musical elements despite the vocals being a natural accompaniment to acoustic. Apart from subtle electric guitar moments, electronic percussion can be found at the back of 'Early Night', saxophone on 'Tangled Heart' and a string section on closer 'Star'. These constituent parts are lent a gloomy warmth from The National's Aaron Dessner on production duties, helping form the fire-side intimacy that the record constantly conveys.

Perhaps above everything else though, it is Zoë Randell's vocals that make Passerby the success that it is. Silk soft and with a depth that entrances, they have a subtle but noticeable crisp edge brought into the light via Dessner's production. They aren't heart-breaking as much as they are heart-warming, and give Randell a self-awareness that makes the lyrics completely convincing and empathetic. The other half of Luluc, Steve Hassett, occasionally makes appearances for vocal harmonies that give those moments an added depth, the male and female vocals intertwining seamlessly. Passerby may not be so suited to the blazing sunshine and the accompanying revelry of summer, but there are few albums that provide a better soundtrack for blissful solitude.

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