The Lulu Raes’ debut album has more hooks than your grandad’s dinghy

Lyrically in pop music there’s always someone leaving, perhaps a little self-reflection, collapsing relationships, and all things turmoil. You also best believe they’re talking about love, bleeding hearts, and all things gooey.

I’ll never get sick of it and neither will you, and that’s because of bands like The Lulu Raes.

the lulu raes album review happy mag
Photo: Daisy Hofstetter

Self-professed and unashamed lovers of pop, The Lulu Raes’ song craftsmanship has come to a head in debut album LULU.

LULU has more hooks than your grandad’s dinghy, and production so crisp you’d be hard pressed finding moments out of place on a Jamiroquai or Noel Gallagher record. The sound on the album far surpasses the pubs and bars of Sydney to which they are accustomed. The Lulu Raes don’t seem scared to create an arena-sized album. That alone is worth commending.

There were times on the record where I had to ask myself, ‘how pop do I like my pop?’ The swelling strings and horn sections did tend to cross that line a little bit for me. Obviously everyone has a different perspective – take it or leave it.

That being said, the interweaving instrumentation and vocal melodies are that of a professional hand. The striking variation in songs yet a solid sense of cohesion is also laudable. But at the core of all this is a band making marvellous, arse shaking sing-alongs. If we’re talking synesthesia, then it’s all a groovy vibrancy.

With a handful of singles already floating around the net, the first new taste off the album is Mastermind. Its disco rhythms and jaunty lead guitar have a sweaty Mediterranean heat – hopefully it aids in warming during the the cooler months ahead.

Following this is Magic Bus. The Lulu Raes can write a hell of a chorus, and there are more than a few on LULU. Fake It stands out as slightly overproduced in comparison to the rest of the album, but I’m sure this is mirroring the content of the lyrics.

The record then steps back into gear with Super Safe. Driven by a solid motown beat, it’s full of bubbly positivity.

For me. Blow Me Up is the stand out. Again, the chorus is incredible. It’s got that early 2000s R&B feel from all those songs you still like, but you know, without that nostalgic irony thing. It’s just a really good song that ends in a lovely comedown.

Throughout the record there are brief interludes of tomfoolery, funny accents and general chatter amongst the band. It proves the fellas are capable of some proper songwriting but aren’t taking it too seriously, and I like that. It’s with a brief pump up that the closing song is introduced, and with Captain Navy we get a ballad exit that flexes some aptitude on the piano and lavish vocal bravado.

I guess you’d call LULU cosmic pop, a term you’ve probably heard Liam Gallagher throwing around to insult his brother’s post-Oasis career. But whatever, those blokes are wankers, and The Lulu Raes are getting it done with virtue.


LULU is out now.


May 11 – Rocket Bar, Adelaide
May 12 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
May 18 – UOW Uni Bar, Wollongong
May 19 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
May 24 – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay
May 25 – Soundlounge, Currumbin
May 26 – Black Bear Lounge, Brisbane
Jun 1 – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Jun 2 – The Transit Bar, Canberra

Tickets available here.