Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

Luxembourg – Front 23/10/06

Filed under: Album Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 7:35 pm


Unlike many of their contemporaries, Luxembourg have built up an impressive reputation and dedicated following the old fashioned way.


Forgoing the now commonplace route to success via MySpace and other charms of the internet, hard work, numerous gigs and word of mouth throughout London’s bustling music scene has seen this band rise to the forefront of intelligent, English, underground indie, with this debut album released to some amount of anticipation. But with numerous comparisons to England’s other aficionados of kitchen sink indie tales – from The Smiths to Suede to Pulp – are Luxembourg really worth the hype?


‘Le14’ heralds a sound more akin to Hope of the States or Explosions in the Sky as the album’s opener, with its trickling guitar set melancholically against lush synth strings. But this precedent is short lived as ‘Faint Praise’ sees the drums kick in and guitars get turned up, creating a sound reminiscent of early Radiohead.


Indeed, there are Brit Pop flourishes sprinkled throughout ‘Front.’ David Shah’s witty, yet painfully true barbs are reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker had his most sardonic as songs tell of love more realistic and relatable than the oft romanticised version that fills the back catalogues of many a tedious boy band and slack jawed power balladeer. ‘What the Housewives Don’t Tell You’ particularly impresses with its subtle, yet no less imaginable nuances – “I don’t care if you never make a move, just as long as you don’t say it’s time to leave.”


This gritty, heart aching sentiment remains throughout, as the clearly talented musicians do their best to craft the edgy indie pop that comes to the fore on the superb ‘Sick of DIY’. Yet this is not an album without its flaws.


Shah’s voice is not the strongest, and though he occasionally brings Morrissey to mind with his lilts and stresses, it’s too weak and inconsistent over the course of the album. Maybe if each song matched the quality ‘DIY’ and ‘We Only Stayed Together For The Kids’ this would have been less noticeable, but there are occasions where the band sound no more than your usual dull indie fodder. And the lyrics, though commendably personal and relevant, don’t quite have the hard hitting every man impact of such peers as Arctic Monkeys and Bromhead’s Jacket.


Sounding too much like their influences to be anything special, Luxembourg remain an excellent indie band that will one day make an excellent indie album. However, for the moment they’ll have to be content with a good one.




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