There's a certain, almost indefinable something about Melbourne singer-songwriter Lucille. To begin with, she doesn't sound like anyone else, or as if it would even occur to her to try to sound like someone else – her beautiful, yet curious voice stands out on first listen. Then there's her cleverly crafted songs; tales that beautifully weave themes of darkness and light, love and sorrow, hope and despair. Lucille's stories are rich and textured and have the ring of both truth and lived experience.
The singer/songwriter, who delivered her first two singles last year, has released her debut LP "Come On, Fly" on June 26 – a collection of 10 new tracks that brilliantly showcase Lucille's diversity of genre.
The title track, 'Come On, Fly' was inspired both by Lucille's birthplace of Berlin to the current literal and metaphorical walls being built, from Mexico and the USA to Palestine and Israel, to divide and incite fear and misunderstanding. The song emphasises that humanity seems incapable of learning, the destructive cycles continue on, but if one learns to fly, to embrace a better way of being, then walls lose their meaning
'Miss Bennett' is a song about Lucille discovering her voice. As she explains it, "the song is about no longer being silent about my true thoughts and feelings. And the conviction that when you find your voice and follow it then it cannot "not" have an impact on others. The reference to 1995 BBC 'Pride And Prejudice' is obvious. Danny Spencer really worked the vocal-guitar play-off in this song. It works so well."
The stunning 'Wise Man' featuring Shane Howard (Australian singer-songwriter of Goanna fame) is another highlight of the album. Lucille describes how the song came about: "This song was born of a dream, a dream about somebody very dear to me who was finally happy, truly happy despite their burdened life. Waking up in the middle of the night, I immediately recorded it on my phone. When it came time to record the track, I couldn't listen to it with just my vocal, I knew we needed to add a raw, gritty male vocal. My producer suggested Shane Howard and we were beyond thrilled when he agreed. The stark contrast of our vocals, and the beautiful way they blend at the end, that's magical in my view."
The heartbreaking 'The Pines' was inspired by an estate in North Frankston; opposite to where Lucille lived until recently. As she tells it, "'The Pines' is probably one of the most disadvantaged areas in all of Melbourne/Victoria. Up until a few months ago I lived in Seaford, opposite the estate. My house was between the estate and the train station. We were all on the wrong side of the tracks (the other side of the tracks being trendy beachside). So the characters walking past my house were on the back way to the train. Or down to the bottle shop – people who don't have cars use trollies or granny wagons walking down there. Pete (not his real name) was a person I met who was trying to earn enough money to move away somewhere nicer. But his daughter had brain damage from meth usage and he had to look after her. There is also a nice new old folks' home. I wanted to capture the hopeless feeling of this place, the cycle people can get trapped in, and the eyes of people who say something about changing for the better but don't even believe it themselves – but not to depress too much, rather just to acknowledge these people and their struggles."
"Recording this song we wanted something really raw and organic. The baritone guitar played by Stewart Kohinga just bring this mournfulness that a different guitar couldn't bring. Shannon Bourne on the dobro adds to this mournful bent. We used all sorts of unusual sound effects to create dissonance and instability, insecurity. Those drums are done on an empty tissue box!"
The theme of instability and insecurity also shines through on 'Last Release' - "the lion's lost its soul / the falcon's had its last release." Drawing on her previous work in the automotive industry, Lucille, alongside thousands of others was made redundant. This song serves as an acknowledgement of that fact, a validation for everybody affected that it was a huge impact to people's lives.
'Fire, Rain' is about the realisation that something you've been taught, something as fundamental as a whole belief system; is completely wrong and destructive. It's about the desperate want to burn it to the ground and start afresh. Definitely the heaviest song on the album musically, it's driving momentum for much-wanted change. "Come with fire lover come with rain / Scorch the earth let it burn clear the way / Bring me fire lover bring me rain / Wash this earth / Let me start again."
The final song on the album 'Tell Me' is about Lucille's decision to take her music seriously; "Tell Me / Cause there's a song / Riding on the wind / I can hear it." Lucille describes further "despite my age, despite my lack of experience, I've felt compelled to believe in music. It has personally taken a lot of bravery and belief to get to where I am now. Whilst for somebody else it might seem like nothing; it's been a monumental shift. However, the listener could easily put themselves in the song and start to pursue their own passion despite people around them thinking they are crazy."
Whatever Lucille is, it's not crazy. Again, it comes back to that special something, perhaps it's her inner strength and determination to live her life on her terms, striving to do her best and be her best. With "Come On, Fly", she's more than ably assisted by a skilled team of hand-picked musicians on the album – Mitch Cairns, who also produced, recorded and mixed, Shannon Bourne, Danny Spencer, Bill Risby, Emilio Kormanic, Jono Wright, Olivia Nathan, Dean Addison and Dan Biederman, and the special guest appearance from the legendary Shane Howard on 'Wise Man'.