For early followers of Lime Cordiale, this debut album has been a long time coming. Since 2012, brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach have released three EP’s, the latest one, Road to Paradise, in 2015 and since then, they’ve been writing, recording and refining the ‘Lime Cordiale sound’. But refining doesn’t mean streamlining. In fact, in some ways they have probably expanded their sound even further.

The Sydney duo has spent most of 2017 in the studio with producer Dave Hammer (Washington, Thundamentals, Born Lion, Millar) where they’ve had time to explore and experiment in a way that they haven’t been able to before. The result is a very varied record and if you ever wanted to put this band in a box, this release will not make that easier for you. But that is by no means a bad thing.

At first, Permanent Vacation might come off as a bit schizophrenic – it’s poppy, rocky, groovy; up-tempo and danceable; laid back, beachy, jazzy. But the more you listen, the more you notice all of those little details that tie the tunes together. The playful strings and brass that are scattered throughout the record. The many layers and complexity of every track.

Opener ‘Naturally’ is slightly boring but then up-tempo ‘Temper Temper’ fires up your dancing shoes. So does the incredibly groovy bassline on ‘Underground’ and the smooth, almost disco-like vibe on ‘Giving Yourself Over’. ‘Is He Your Man’ explodes in a wailing, repetitive chorus which is very likely to play over and over in your head the rest of the day, as does the otherwise drowsy, spoken word-y ‘What Is Growing Up’ – a tune that is about doing the exact opposite.

The step up from EP to album format has made space for slower, darker tunes like the brilliant latest single ‘Risky Love’, string and piano heartbreaker ‘Walk Over Everything I Do’ and the anthemic, blues-soul-y closer ‘Top of My List’. Then there’s tunes like the dreamy ‘Up in the Air’ and beachy ‘Can I Be Your Lover’ that don’t stand out particularly but they certainly won’t hurt your ears either.

The strength of Permanent Vacation does not lie in its ability to present a perfect unity – because it doesn’t – but more in the quality of the individual songs. The playfulness that permeates them. The way they feel familiar but in an oddly indeterminable way. And in how much they will give back to you, if you give them your full attention.

4/5 stars

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