"It’s not often I get a debut album that I’m compelled immediately to play twice. It’s partly because The Lost Art’s eponymous debut has only eight, good length songs, leaving you hungry for more, but also the final track, `Distant Friends’, has a down-note ending that simply urges you to loop back to the joyful call-response and chiming round of `Equals’, to begin the thrilling journey all over again.
And what a journey. Gordo Francis and Greg Hooper are both classically-trained classroom music teachers, so they know their way around the world of musicality, where nothing feels out of place and the subtle changes of pace and acceleration in each song echo the ride. Their voices, though tonally similar, alternate lead and gradually differ to your ears by sheer personality. So the faint tyre tracks of Labi Siffre and Jamie Cullum are crossed in `Secret Life’ and `The Stage’ to give way to giddy theatrics, most notably on the Bossanova helter skelter of `The Passenger’ (“I’m a passenger in my own train / Uncomfortably out of control”), then straight on to destination West End and the achingly epic Lloyd Webber-esque `High & Mighty’.
But the song that springs out and bats you in the head like a serotonin beach ball is `Kick the Habit’, which intros like `Jive Talking’ and balloons into a studio party akin to Paul Simon’s Cecilia’, bouncing around magnificently between MIKA, Jose Feliciano and the Tex-Mex vibe of Buddy Holly’s `Not Fade Away’.
My advice is buy this superbly orchestrated and produced absolute gem of an album as a CD rather than the band’s free Bandcamp download, to experience the full volume sparkle, gusto and real promise that’s been lovingly put into it, right down to the Akira Kusaka artwork. Treasure it and file it under progressive folk or acoustic pop or world music or Broadway. No, wait, just file it under The Lost Art. "
- Nightshift - Jan 2015