Weaopon of mass destruction
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 05/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For such a sunny, pretty place, San Diego sure churned out some dark, jagged rock'n'roll. Grimy chords and swaggering poses are at the heart of Louis XIV's full-length debut, "The Best Little Secrets Are Kept." Grimy, sexy, and perpetually winking, this a fun listen for disenchanted rock fans.
A slow, ominous violin solo starts off the album, but there the classical influence ends -- from there on, it's just rock. Suddenly angular guitars kick in, and Jason Hill starts announcing that he is a "weapon of mass destruction," in an insolent monotone that sounds like it's been filtered through a radio.
Similarly spiky rock songs follow, with lots of heavy rhythms and vocals that range from sensitive quavers to yowls. Louis XIV is at its best in these songs, which strip down garage rock to its bones, the blast of bass and electric guitar, with some wicked rhythm.
But they also have a knack for retroglam, as evidenced by the marvelous "Letter to Dominique." They're somewhat less successful in the few slow songs, such as the expansive ballad "All The Little Pieces." Piano-and-strings lo-fi just won't catch on, I'm afraid, guys. The rough sound won't catch the nuances of the song.
When a band is named after the Sun King, you'd expect a less than humble approach. But these guys don't seem to consider themselves the next best thing to God, just a rough-edged, sexy garage band. Some songs end with murmured conversations, random strums and footsteps. It sounds like they forgot to turn the mike off -- and that lack of polish and pretension is great.
The lyrics are basically about one thing -- sex. Sex sex sex, and surprisingly it comes across as roguish and laddish instead of obnoxious. "Let me buy ya a lollipop you wanna lick," Hill purrs. "You don't need to take a shower if you wanna get wet!" Hello, double and triple entendres.
Hill is absolutely marvelous as a rock vocalist, but sounds rather high-pitched and nervy in "All The Little Pieces." The rest of the time, he sounds like a raging rock lothario with a seductively gravelly voice. Sound-wise, they are deeply stripped down -- mostly electric guitar and drums, with some bass and the odd bits of violin thrown in. That's it.
Rough, raw and sexy, "The Best Little Secrets Are Kept" is a delicious treat for rock fans disenchanted by pretty-boys and trendy pop."