There are several devices in the menagerie of musical instruments which effortlessly communicate ‘silliness’: slide whistle, tuba, kazoo. On No Plans To Make Plans – a stand-out cut from Lime Cordiale’s new album 14 Steps To A Better You – we can hear a few of them, popping their muppet heads up alongside samples of canned applause and dollops of trumpet. “I think the greatest thing about Dave Hammer, who produced this album, was that we could just do the stupidest things,” says Oli Leimbach. “The applause, the kookaburra laugh in Screw Loose – we put them in as jokes, and then they sort of just ended up staying in there.”
It was a convivial atmosphere for the Leimbach brothers (the other is lead singer Louis) in the studio with Hammer, as the group crafted the tracks that make up anticipated sophomore album 14 Steps To A Better You – three tracks from which already landed in the last iteration of the Hottest 100 (a fourth, their Like A Version cover of Divinyls’ I Touch Myself, also placed).
But the playful arrangements, particularly on tracks like No Plans, belie important memos the brothers want to impart. “One of the major messages of this album [is] sort of not to take yourself too seriously,” Oli explains. “Do the things you love to do, but also, don’t leave this world without making a good, positive effect. It’s like this contradictory message… [which] I think fits well with a song like [No Plans] that sounds so silly. But the song is talking to someone that’s money-driven, and power-driven, and thinking about themselves. The silliness is a bit cheeky, and taking the piss out of that character.”
There are a couple of places across the album’s lyrics where we’re advised to “do what [our] mother says” or to “listen to [our] mother”; it’s well-documented that the Leimbach’s own Ma is a classically-trained musician herself, and Oli confirms that the bros do take their own advice. “There’s been a few times we’ve gone to see a band and they [tell the audience], ‘Don’t listen to your parents, do what you want to do!’ And sometimes I’ll sit there and go, ‘I don’t know that’s the best message,’” Oli says. “I know where [those bands] are coming from: it’s like, ‘Break free from conservative ways.’ But many people have had many more years than we have on the planet, so they’re learned from way more mistakes than we have.
“In saying that, I think there’s a lot of people in [older generations] that are definitely backwards. But early on [in the band’s life], when we were maybe feeling some doubts, people our own age would laugh at us, and ask ‘When are you going to get a proper job?’ It was some of the older people who said ‘You’ve just got to keep going at it. Don’t give up.’”
That encouragement is something the duo have absorbed, and offer back out across this album. “We all have a certain level of power, so remember,” the band say in the promo material in peak Captain Planet fashion, “the power is yours.” True to this sentiment, Oli’s explanation of the album’s closing track Following Fools shows that this young band are very aware of their influence. “It’s based on an article that Tim Winton wrote, about toxic masculinity,” Oli says. “I guess when you’re a teenager, you’re constantly experimenting, constantly looking to know what’s right or wrong. I’m not sure if the article even referenced the #MeToo movement in particular, but we have a lot of young teenagers at our shows; you meet them and you see them testing things out, maybe teasing a friend or acting quite alpha in front of their girlfriends. So it’s about not being embarrassed to say something, when someone says something wrong. When you’re on stage, people are watching your every movement – online as well. You’ve got to be really careful with the way you act, the things you say. Because whether you like it or not, people are going to follow in those footsteps.”
It’s admirable maturity and self-awareness, coming from a band who seem all good-time-party on the outside, and made their mark on the live local circuit in their native Sydney. “The main aim was to get people moving and dancing,” Oli smiles. “Because everyone was so drunk and loud, we had to get above the noise – there’s nothing worse than someone with their back to you in the front row, talking to the person behind them!” We forsee very few turned backs when Lime Cordiale bring 14 Steps to the world this week.
14 Steps To A Better You by Lime Cordial is out July 10 via Chugg Music/London Cowboys.
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