Reservations is Sodastream's fourth studio album. Over the course of ten years with countless months spent in the backs of vans throughout Europe and North America, the Australian duo of Karl Smith and Pete Cohen have been progressively expanding the musical world of Sodastream from scratchy lo-fi and barely-whispered mournful melancholy through to lush, expansive pop with horn sections and singalongs. The plodding bass and tentative viola of "Warm July" drop you into Reservations in the middle of a broken relationship with a hint that Sodastream have a different story to tell this time around. By the second track, with its barely-strummed guitar and mournful vocal, the indications are very clear that Reservations summons darker places. Where 2003's A Minor Revival was filled with the joyous wonder of new stories, all horns and soaring choruses, this is the sound of a Melbourne winter, full of quick changes and cold snaps. There are also some wickedly jaunty pop tracks here of the trademark Sodastream style, all shuffling drums and bubbling basslines, and there's slow building harmony-driven melancholy -- but even these songs echo with an overall sense of sadness. Sodastream effortlessly jump from acoustic introspection and instrumentals to raucous shanties without any hint of affectation. Even with the addition of horns, harmonicas, and the drums of Marty Brown, the core of their sound remains the same as it is live -- Smith's acoustic guitar, Pete's driving double bass, and some of the best, most beautiful songwriting to come out of Australia in years. More musically and lyrically assured than ever, Reservations takes you on a bittersweet journey, deep into the heart of what Pitchfork Media singled out as one of the "most relevant Australian bands since the Go-Betweens."
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