Review: Jack Foley
SAN Diego natives Louis XIV are an oddity - but that's probably
just the way they like it.
They mix that oh-so familiar post-punk sound with an R&B
edge, toss in some T-Rex glam-rock inspired flourishes and occasionally
throw in some blues-era Rolling Stones for good measure.
The result is a collection of tracks that sound oddly compelling
and which has helped them amass quite a large following in the
States, off the back of near-constant touring with headline slots
and support for the likes of Hot Hot Heat and The Killers.
Indeed, fans of those two bands will probably find plenty to
admire in Louis XIV, thanks to their relentlessly catchy hooks
and their off-kilter take on modern rock 'n' roll. It's a very
deliberate mix of raucous riffs and bawdy beats delivered in a
Take the most recent single, Finding Out True Love Is Blind
as a prime example. It's an alluring mix of rambunctious rock
and soulful female vocals that celebrates women of all shapes,
sizes, race and demeanour.
The stop-start rhythm seems ripped right out of The Strokes'
songbook, but it's augmented by some shimmering guitar riffs,
some neatly orchestrated hand claps and a really great set of
female vocals on each chorus that elevates it above the norm for
this sort of thing.
A Letter To Dominique, which actually featured as a
bonus track on that CD single, is dripping in T-Rex style glam-rock
vocals, but mixes things up again by setting things against a
Pledge of Alliance is a sexy, twisted but playful piece
of fun with a really warped guitar riff midway through that infuses
it with a manic energy.
And the hand-claps return for Hey Teacher, a falsetto-laden
workout that hints at what might happen if The Scissor Sisters
veered into punk-rock territory. It's trippy, bouncy and benefits
from Jason Hill's distinct vocal style - and it includes another
barnstorming guitar solo for the finale.
There's a distinct change of pace for All The Little Pieces,
a piano-driven ballad that maintains the retro feel and hints
at trippy Pink Floyd with a little more Scissor Sisters thrown
in. The stabs of violin are pretty cool too.
While the bluesy final track, Ball of Twine unfolds
in suitably impressive fashion, combining some Stones' sensibilities
with more edgy vocals and some fine guitar work.
The Best Little Secrets Are Kept brings together songs
from their self-released album and EPs along with new material,
all recorded in November and December 2004 at the band's own San
Diego studio that was built specifically in a refurbished urban
It's safe to predict that upon hearing the album, Louis XIV may
well find themselves with a new army of worshippers for this best
kept secret is well worth shouting about.