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Fat Possum
Louis XIV
The Best Little Secrets Are Kept
Atlantic Records

Rating: 4/10 ?

August 12, 2005
I've heard that sex sells, but Louis XIV take this knowledge to the breaking point. On The Best Little Secrets Are Kept, the California buzz band tries its hardest to be a sexy, dangerous rock and roll powerhouse without actually being any of those things.

Although it could easily pass for clever, lead single "Finding Out True Love is Blind" smoothly suffices as a mild embarrassment. Lead singer Jason Hill may call out his desires for every genre of hipster-chic female, but it isn't true love that's blind - it's his horniness.

This sexual appetite - interspersed with intense self-indulgence - is what dominates not only the songs on The Best Little Secrets Are Kept, but its packaging, too. What a booklet of soft-core porn has to do with the music, I'll never know. Soft-core porn does not equal rock. Soft-core porn just equals soft-core porn. However, it does do wonders for establishing the band's image, which I guess is what's most at stake anyway.

A record of pseudo-garage-blues-rock shouldn't rely on tales of daring sexual arrangements and slutty bar girls… or maybe it should, and Louis XIV are just too goofy and fabricated to get the job done.

That's not to say The Best Little Secrets Are Kept isn't at least marginally entertaining. It is, but only marginally. "Illegal Tender" is nothing if not downright silly, while the mocking female voice on "Paper Doll" sounds a lot like Homer Simpson's impression of Marge. The squeaky voices on the druggy "Hey Teacher" even call to mind crazy leprechauns or Tim Burton's Oompa Loompas (even if they pale in comparison to the originals). Confusingly enough, the Beatles-esque "All the Little Pieces" recalls the ghost of "Eleanor Rigby," and oddly switches pace from the remainder of the record. Gone are the sexual encounters, replaced by a squeak of vulnerability.

When it boils down to it, Louis XIV is nothing new or better. Their analog recording and pretentious indie attitude will only work like smoke and mirrors for so long. Louis XIV are simply a case of a major label band trying to sound deep and indie while still pandering to mainstream weaknesses. The Illegal Tender EP may have been self-recorded, but despite the Pineapple recording logo, it still had a major label machine working behind it. Some of the tracks may be fun, but The Best Little Secrets Are Kept is little more than mindlessness parading as innovation. Don't believe the hoopla.

Reviewed by Natalie B. David
A fresh graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, in her spare time she can be found clumsily manipulating words and phrases for LAS and Beautiful/Decay magazine, hungering for sushi, naming inanimate objects or pondering the existence of stiletto heels. If you see her, you should buy her a cup of coffee because, chances are, she probably needs it.

See other reviews by Natalie B. David



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