April 7, 2005

Louis XIV: The Best Little Secrets Are Kept

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If one were to listen to San Diego rockers Louis XIV’s debut album The Best Little Secrets Are Kept without knowing who they were or what it was, one would undoubtedly assume it was a lost T. Rex album. Not just any T. Rex album, but one that, in the tradition of Lou Reed’s Street Hassle, is a biting, self-parody intended to ridicule the rocker for the mockery he had become.

Louis XIV mooch every last detail off of Marc Bolan for Little Secrets, and the result is an album that even the Strokes would consider crossing the line in terms of derivation. Louis XIV’s outrageously calculated gong banging would have made this album trash if it weren’t for the unabashed flaunting of their contrivance. As such, this album is trash in the best sense of the word.

Nearly every facet of the band’s act is displayed right away on the album opener, appropriately titled “Louis XIV.” The song begins with a pretentious classical instrumental piece, the gentle flow of which is shattered by vocalist Jason Hill arrogantly stating, “Well I’m a weapon of mass destruction/ Got no apologies, no hype of concussion.” Now if these lyrics weren’t explicitly groaned out by Bolan at some point, the sentiment was at least implied on every song he ever wrote. A few more minutes of sex, drugs and mock ‘n roll ensue until Hill inquires, “Who’s your daddy?”– a question answered by a hedonistic guitar solo.

The next track, “Finding Out True Love Is Blind,” which happens to be the album’s single, is just as studied as any other song on the album, but stands alone in its ability to contend with many of glam rocks’ finer moments. As cloying and derivative as it may be, the song includes Hill’s greatest vocal performance on the album, displaying genuine sleaze when Hill lists all the different types of girls he wants to deflower: “Hey, carrot juice, I wanna squeeze you away until you bleed/ And your vanilla friend, well she looks like something I need/ I want miss little smart girl with your glasses and all your books/ And I want the stupid girl who gives me all those dirty looks.” Between the staccato beats, electric riffs and haunting background shouts, “Finding Out True Love is Blind” could easily be the most fun single released this year.

Louis XIV are at their best when belting out double entendres and outdoing themselves in terms of ostentation and ridiculous lyrics. For instance, what saves “Paper Doll” from monotony are lyrics like, “Hey short girl, you’re like a midget” and “I know I ain’t correct/ but politics are so much better when there’s sex.” Trust me, these musings are much more entertaining when heard on record.

With their latest effort, Louis XIV have created an irreverent, cheeky album that simultaneously and conspicuously mocks, steals from and pays tribute to all the music they adore. Yet they couldn’t care less if anyone remembers them even a year from now. After all, isn’t that what glam rock is all about?

Archived article by Jared Wolfe
Sun Staff Writer