ALBUM REVIEW: Lime Cordiale – ’14 Steps To A Better You’

Words by Emily Hollitt – AKA – Malina Claire

After a recent eye-opening European tour, particularly at a gig in Vienna, Lime Cordiale members Oli and Louis Leimbach learnt just how popular their music had become- filling up rooms across the globe with strangers from different cultural backgrounds screaming their lyrics back word-for-word. Gaining 4 songs in the top 40 of triple j’s Hottest 100 last year, the boys quickly grasped the influence their music had that hey had not realised before, peaking since the duo’s inception in 2009. And with great influence comes great responsibility, thus encouraging the duo to come up with ’14 Steps To A Better You’, the groups sophomore album, acting as a parody of self-help books, while also acknowledging their own global influence, wanting to leave  a positive impact. “We all have a certain power so remember, the power is yours. Be a better you”. With 14 tracks with 14 different lessons about life, friendships and society at large, the record acts as both something that is easy to listen to yet also leaves you with a unique set of thoughts and advice. Surrounded by beach-y and accessible production, the album has a song or lesson with something in it for everyone from all walks of life.

Video game style synths and beach-y guitars open That’s Life. The vocals are heavily delayed and reverberated, giving them a dream-like quality. Chorus lyrics “Let’s waste some time, alright. Waiting ‘till we die, that’s life.” are delivered calmly and casually, in an almost nonchalant way expressing the shortness of life and why it’s unnecessary to stress and overwork yourself, and the importance of taking the time to ‘waste’ your time. Robbery plays out like an old crime movie, detailing the story of ‘the one that got away’. “She left her lipstick on my cheek. I turned around, she vanished in a blink… Hey! There’s been a robbery. She stole my heart and then took off on me”. Horns and a 1960’s style drum’s giving the track an old film noir aesthetic, adding to the lyrical content of the song.

No Plans to Make Plans follows, critiquing the downside of modern-day social activism and how some activism seems to be more ego-driven and combative, rather than making active change. “You need a break from your addiction, don’t stay plugged in until you’re dead. You’re taking a stand, but not standing up yet.” They sing in the first verse, recognising how emotionally exhausting and ineffective this kind of activism can be, and the personal impacts it can have when often there’s not much outward pay-off. The bouncy instrumentals and simplistic drumbeats make the track easily digestible, delivering advice which translates somewhat harshly in to a compassionate yet stern delivery. “Somewhere along the way you lost track of what life’s about”. Inappropriate Behaviour follows the narrative of a friend of his significant other who manipulates her into thinking there’s issues in the relationship. The vocals delivery differs vastly from the rest of the album so far, expressed in a more conversational yet pleading, or desperate tone- as if the listener is the partner he’s trying to get through to. “She’s what I say, a manipulator!” he screams at the end of each verse, really trying to reach out to his significant and open her eyes to her toxic friendship.

The band further’s their cultural critique with Addicted to the Sunshine, analysing Australians and how we love nature and our time outside, but often take it for granted, not taking proper care of the environment around us. “Give a little bit if you’re gonna take”. Much like No Plans to Make Plans, the somewhat harsh and tongue-in-cheek analysis is surrounded by preppy, beachy sounds, giving the song a summer-anthem feel, while juxtaposing this with a critical message. Sparkly synths and hefty bass open On Our Own before twinkly guitars join in. “Yeah who would’ve known that we could move on? We’re laughing, tying up our loose ends with that old excuse, “We’ll be friends” he sings. The song describes the end of a relationship that ends on good terms, describing the melancholy of the relationship and the lasting love, while also acknowledging the newfound freedom and opening of a new door. The song analyses moving on as a celebration or a new beginning, a beautiful way of looking at fading relationships. Acoustic guitar opens We just Get By, giving the album a softer audible break. A heavy bass and beat introduce the chorus, supported by gentle brass and soft, ghost-like vocal harmonies. “It’s often tricky to just start your day. A whisky for the evening pain… why not just enjoy it?” they sing about growing up and the associated sadness and pressure of life, responsibilities and experience. The synth-lead middle section beautifully moves above the minor tonality of the song, sitting in a preppy high-range, symbolising striving through the hard times.

High pitched synths, clean guitars and funky bass introduce Money, giving the song an early 2000s indie pop feel. The vocals are crunchy and distorted with heavy reverberation, reminiscent in production and vocal delivery to that of Arctic Monkeys. The track’s bridge changes completely in tone, with synths, brass and the drums growing more and more dissonant, messy and distorted over time as they repeat the lyrics from the first pre-chorus;

“It’s the end of the evening and what is left? You’re looking around for a lover but not for sex. Can be a fool if you want to ‘cos they don’t care, as long as there’s a dollar that you can spend”.

Screw Loose features heavy bass, consistent bass and space-like synths. The song details someone they know who lives recklessly- depending on alcohol and a party lifestyle to cope with their life. “Get a rise from anybody who would care… you would fake your fucking death.” He sings about the untrustworthiness of this person. The instrumentation is darker and more bass-heavy, relying on bass and toms to set the tone as well as the quirky brass to give the track an overall uncomfortable yet provocative tone. Verses are delivered rapped and conversationally, relying on rhythm over tonality to tell the story. “Your life’s a Violet Crumble- you’re flaky and you’re dark”. Elephant in the Room is the first piano-lead song on the track, with a distorted and jumpy waltz-like tempo. The piano chords in the chorus are dissonant and jagged, playing into the distorted romantic story of the lyrics, reflecting a love he gives everything to, that takes him for granted. Industrial tom-heavy drums play in the bridge, adding to the discomfort of the overall sound of the song. “Sooner or later, I’ll stop playing favourites”.

“Oh I love you whole, you’re like gold to me, my love is dirt cheap, and you have me sold” he sings in the chorus of Dirt Cheap, summarising the songs message perfectly. The production in minimal and dreamy- with block chord airy guitars giving the song a relaxed, easy to listen to vibe. Detailing how easy it is to love his partner, the song resonates this message beautifully- sounding like an easy Sunday afternoon alongside someone you love. Baroque influences lay beneath the gentle rock sounds of Can’t Take All the Blame, a slow-rock jam detailing the story of an unhealthy relationship where he feels distanced and isolated because of his partners antics.

“I can’t take all the blame that I hardly see my friends… I’m constantly on edge… Pulled away from dinner plans because you made a show”.

The lyrical delivery in the chorus is emotional and almost desperate; “Just let it slide, I need this time to be simple me… Why does it always happen to me?”. Maniacal laughter which turns to tears ends the song before fading out to a spoken-word mock phone message;

“I know you feel you needed to play the blame game, but it takes two. Only one of us feels the shame and we both know that it ain’t you.”

Rain sounds and glean electric guitars introduce Dear London, before heavily EQ’d and reverberated vocals are introduced, pushed into the background like a distant memory. “I’m in hell but I’ll stay” he sings in the chorus, detailing about how his own personal heartbreak prevented him from falling in love with the fantastic city of London- his own emotions and mindset preventing him from fully embracing his experiences. “London, it’s not you, it’s her”.  Poppy synths and high-frequency guitars open the record’s closing track Following Fools. “In too deep to just say thanks and forget, following the footsteps of the fools and the fuckwits” he sings, describing his relationships with under 18-year-old fans who get caught in unhealthy crowds. The song details the duo’s desire to become great role models and friends of some sort to their younger audience, helping them to fall into supportive crowds and enjoy their lives. Ending the album on this track summarises the aim of the record brilliantly, as if the record was 14 lessons for those who they may be able to positively impact with their music and their quick succession to influence- wanting to do good with the impact they have.

Listen/Purchase HERE


With thanks to Positive Feedback

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