Lucas Laufen grew up in a small fishing town in South Australia called Port Lincoln. As such,the sea plays a big part in the musical landscape that Laufen wanders through with his soft folk melodies, whether it be as a direct influence, having the sounds of waves featuring in songs, or the inspiration that follows from a visit to the ocean.
Having relocated to Berlin a few years ago, Laufen released EP Goodbye and then proceeded to dedicate time to touring and writing. Having initially learned piano and then trumpet, Laufen came later to guitar. The simple finger picked style of Laufen’s playing helps the songs form into full stories and Laufen is quite the storyteller. Weaving you into the songs and carrying you upon the wind until the song finishes it’s easy to disappear into the nine songs presented here on Laufen’s debut I Know Where Silence Lives produced by Ben Edwards .
The first single from the record, ‘A Million Miles From Love’, was written when Laufen was visiting his family back home in Australia. On his walk back to the caravan he was staying in, he discovered his legs had blood over them. Retracing his steps, he found a dead rabbit in the grass presumably killed by the family dog, which was only a metre away from its rabbit hole and yet that metre could have been a million miles. A scenario which was all too familiar for Laufen as he wasn’t settled in Berlin and travelling between there and his family home, he felt close and far away from both.
The second single ‘I Know Where Silence Lives’ starts with the sounds of ocean waves before the gentle sound of Laufen’s guitar begins. Then the soft voice of Laufen begins. Despite listening through headphones, I still lean in to listen. This is a song you want to be close to. Listening to the intimate perspectives from Laufen’s life and his growing understanding of his father, the song builds with Laufen understanding himself more “It’s selfish I know but I’m selfish in many ways.”
Showing the contrast between childhood home and his European life as well not quite feeling like he belonged, both ‘Seeds’ and ‘Two Walls’ tell us of Laufen trying to find his way in life through the hardship of being far from home yet trying to follow his dreams. Whilst the instrumentation often feels simple, the songs in fact have additional strings, brass, and woodwind instruments in addition to Laufen’s trumpet playing which adds to a feeling of completeness without feeling overly layered (‘A Million Miles From Love’ being the perfect example).
Closing out the record is ‘The Modern World’, written when Laufen was visiting The Faroe Islands, feeling at the edge of the world “where silence meets and decides”. Once again the song builds as Laufen tells his story of finding peace at the edge of the modern world. The influence of the sea once again is heard with the last sound on the record being waves hitting the shore.
As a storyteller, Laufen works best in a quiet moment. He’d be lost on a large stage and you as a listener would lose out too. In a small setting though, you would hold your breath just to catch the meaning of the song a little clearer. And even though it just be through headphones, I hold my breath and lean in, I want to be a part of these songs and to feel their meaning.