17 October 2005

luxembourg - "luxembourg vs. great britain" (from the luxembourg vs. great britain single, available for purchase here.)

in brief : from my favorite "new" band comes brainy, desperate pop for people who haven't been the same since pulp split up.

i don't feel entirely right about doing this--indeed, it would be much better if you were to buy this single here. but, as they are, in their own words, "essentially unsigned," you probably have never heard of them and would be buying on faith, and $1.74 is still $1.74, and you probably need to fill your tank.

pay close attention, then, so you'll be queued up to buy their next single. luxembourg are my favorite essentially unsigned band, and it has more to do than w/ just their insistence on typing their name in lowercase. since 2002, they've released at least one excellent track a year, from "making progress" to "we are the resistance" to last year's "mishandled." (you can hear the mp3's at their website, located here.) the streak happily continues w/ "luxembourg vs great britain," and in the title and lyric alone, you hear echoes of "still ill" and "mis-shapes," which should give the reader some idea of the band's patrilineage.

the pulp comparisons are also abundant when discussing the music and, certainly, as the track blares out of one's speakers, it does sound like 1993 all over again. the guitars are a little sharper than anything i can remember from pulp; i think the band sound more like another act from that era, too little-loved, too well-forgotten: sleeper, a name that fits too well, and one that must be too near the bone for the boys of luxembourg. but the mixture of choppy guitars and prominent keyboards recall sleeper tracks like "inbetweener" and, especially, "what do i do now?"

singer david shah is no louise wener, which is just how nature planned it, but he is v. bryan ferry, esp. early bryan ferry, when his appeal was in the sum of his mannerisms. he also sounds v. posh like mssr. ferry, but his lyrics betray a man in a gutter--in a gutter w/ a lot of smiths records, but w/ more gentility than the younger steven patrick. "we've been very patient, we've been patronized," shah sings on the chorus, a long way from suns shining out of behinds and "frankly mr. shankly"s. the tone may be slightly different, but the tune is v. much the same: the same passion and despair fuels their work. "i've given up everything for you," shah croons in a falsetto that would make moz proud, "so don't say you don't want me--i'll just stay here 'til you do," as the shouted chorus of "sex! drink! love! hope!" repeats until close, a refrain that all twentysomethings are familiar w/. luxembourg, meanwhile, is a band you should become familiar w/; i think you will find that they will stay around in your head for quite some time to come.

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