CD Review of The Best Little Secrets Are Kept by Louis XIV
Label
Atlantic
Louis XIV:
The Best Little Secrets
Are Kept

Reviewed by Red Rocker

()

C
ontrary to the album title, there is nothing secret (or subtle) about the debut from San Diego’s stuck-in-the-‘70s brats Louis XIV (yes, pronounced “Louis the fourteenth”). Truth be known, Louis XIV is fundamentally singer/songwriter/producer extraordinaire Jason Hill, the same way the Eels is Mark Everett. After scrapping the unknown Convoy a couple years back, Hill and a couple childhood cronies skipped between San Diego and France to master the ten tracks ultimately morphed into their debut, The Best Little Secrets Are Kept. Note: The parental advisory label herein applies as much to the album art as the lyrics, maybe more.

Impossible for Hill to conceal his influences, songs like “Finding Out True Love Is Blind” and “Illegal Tender” wreak of early Bowie and Exile on Main Street-era Stones. Admitting in a recent interview that Marc Bolan’s T-Rex was and is a gold standard in his life, the decade hopping talent unearths all he can find from the Nixon years. Serrated riffs really fly on “God Killed the Queen” and, in true T-Rex fashion, a hard stereo panning job and bevy of hand claps dominate with a nifty “I think you’re seeing double” spot tossed in with great result. A Robert Johnson-like slide guitar part waves in the groovy “A Letter to Dominique”, not a bit out of place on Beck’s new record, supplementing Louis XIV’s unique vibe and steadfast vow to not remain in any one space for long.

I suppose the stuffed suits at Atlantic had their vigilant eye on the ornery “Pledge of Allegiance” when issuing the “explicit content” label. “Milk shake, milk shake, I love to feel you sweat, we don’t have to go to the pool if you want me to make you wet,” Hill teases in a playful attempt at seducing little Stacey Q, who (“let’s keep this between me and you”) has stumbled across his door on her way home from school. Oh, the fantasies!

These guys have undeniably mastered the art of ‘70s sleaze, borrowing stage presence from glam rock legends like the Stooges and writing a new chapter for characters like Ziggy Stardust. What separates Louis XIV from incalculable failed attempts, however, is the music. This entire debut mission is worthy. There is no disposable component within Best Little Secrets and, by all measuring sticks, that sets it apart from countless predecessors. Employing a model-hot naked chick for a human easel, track listing scribbled down her bare back, doesn’t lose them any cool points, either.

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