Luluc, an Australian group led by Zoë Randell, was one of the many female singer-songwriter acts at this year's Calgary Folk Fest. Accompanied by Steve Hassett, their quiet, hushed performance matches closely with their independently released debut album, Dear Hamlyn. The production is sparse yet warm, with a pair of softly strummed guitars, reminiscent of Leonard Cohen's early recordings. ZoÃ«'s voice draws instant comparison to German chanteuse Nico, with her flat but also full delivery.
Though the album includes instrumental contributions from the trumpet, French horn, pedal steel and drums, one could listen to the entire disc and not even notice their presence. The instrumentation is restrained and held back in order to help flesh out the warm soundscape, not diverting attention from the voices and the lyrics.
The songs are all slow-tempo ballads and simple laments about suitcases, umbrellas, leaving home and coming back again, friendship, love and companionship. This short-but-sweet album drifts by at a relaxed pace, evoking images of lakes and streams, a lyrical motif used throughout the album. With songs about walking in the rain, laying on the shore and the queen of the sea, it is only fitting that the album closes with the lyrics "He loves me like a river/That flows ever on."