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Luke Russell delivers Second Guesses, an album that is musically accomplished, wonderfully charming and hinges on the fact that this self confessed nice guy just can’t catch a break with the ladies. The Sydney based singer-songwriter also happens to be a Sydney University philosophy lecturer and it’s surely that mindset which aids Russell’s knack for clever lyrical prose as he unravels the eccentricities of life and relationships. Musically, Second Guesses is a palate of jingle jangle 60s pop and folk sounds with girly backing vocals and of course Russell’s earnest and unwavering vocal style that and he delivers with such honesty that the album keeps you tuned in and anticipating the next nugget of worldy insight. On the number Handsome, But Not Dashingly Handsome Russell sings “You thought I was handsome/Not dashingly though/And you found me boring/And crashingly so” and one can find sombre amusement at his misfortune with matters of the heart as well as on other songs titled I’m Over The Thrill of The Chase, You Chose The Wrong Girl, and My Girl’s Prematurely Grey. While the main theme on Second Guesses treads the well-trodden turf of mostly unrequited love, it’s done with so much charm you imagine Russell to be the type of guy whose girlfriends all wonder why he’s unattached even though none of them would want to date him personally. Luke Russell can take heart though; nice guys may keep getting stuck in the friend-zone with women but at least that gives him plenty of material to write good songs.

***1/2