Pickle Darling (Lukas Mayo) is something of local, lo-fi music maverick, constructing charming synth-based bedroom pop confections.
‘Bigness’ is not the first Pickle Darling recording, as Mayo released two EPs in 2017: the first a Beatles cover EP, and then his own collection on ‘Spring Onion Pancakes’. It is, however, his first full-length album.
While pouring on the charm with plenty of melodic hooks, ‘Bigness’ shines when its quirks are on display: Mayo’s distinctive, treated, Kiwi twang, and the stream of consciousness lyrics lack pretense, while his few unadorned, simple voice-and-guitar tracks such as Even Pinker stand out freshly from the rest.
There has been recognition for this album with Bandcamp naming ‘Bigness’ their album of the day in early January and RNZ naming the earworm-full Biology one of their best songs of the year.
There’s a fine line between cute and twee, and Mayo negotiates this well with his deadpan delivery and clever melodies, although his description of himself as a lo-fi James Blunt is a disservice – his music (unlike Blunt’s) is sweet and sincere, and far more likeable.
While ‘Bigness’ may appeal mostly to a particular music-loving demographic, on charm alone it deserves a broader audience.