Sodastream Reservations

While a wealth of Australian talent has made headway outside the Southern Hemisphere this year, such as the Sleepy Jackson, the Grates and Architecture In Helsinki, other bands remain unnoticed despite making wonderful music. A prime example is Sodastream, who have persisted in relative anonymity for the last decade, although they had a brief dalliance with fame when they were awarded "Single Of The Week” by Moby in Melody Maker back in 1997. Since then, they’ve been releasing consistently marvellous records that bear enough of a passing resemblance to Belle and Sebastian that they should win a wider audience. Reservations, the band’s fourth album, is quieter than ever and doesn’t have any of the upbeat moments that punctuated 2003’s A Minor Revival. It prefers melancholy and dips its toes into darker waters from time to time, something that should make it tougher listening than it is. But rather surprisingly, it is one of those albums that draws the listener in and for some reason, it is hard not to listen to it from beginning to end each and every time. Smith’s vocals have warmth to them, which doesn’t just provide a contrast to any bleakness but takes the edge off in a way that adds some optimism to the proceedings. In a perfect world, Reservations should be the album that makes the world take notice of Sodastream. It probably won’t, but those who seek them out will be richly rewarded with a bittersweet indie pop gem. (Hausmusik)