In the States, this hard-working gang have opened for The Killers and Hot Hot Heat, while at our T in the Park they earned the Best Band award from one local radio station. This date celebrated the release of their glam-drenched debut album The Best Little Secrets Are Kept.
Its title, pulled from their ode to a hidden affair "Pledge of Allegiance", references Queen of the Stone Age's breakthrough single "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret", and, in several ways, the younger act has followed in their footsteps. Queens' best moments revolved around the relationship between Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri. Here, the key to Louis XIV's dynamic was an easy rapport between the towering singer Jason Hill and the impish guitarist Brian Karscig as they took turns to sing lines and chop out power-chords.
Both adopted similar unkempt indie rock hair with smart dress sense. Hill even wore a waistcoat that worryingly brought to mind Status Quo, though at their best Louis XIV pared down hard-hitting riffs in similar fashion to Bon Scott-era AC/DC. They were helped in this mission by an unfussy rhythm section that stuck firmly to simple, effective, no-nonsense stuff.
Such an idiom was ideal given Hill's libidinous obsessions. Just about every song involves him lusting after girls, though he regularly turns this into an entertaining schtick rather than a puerile obsession. On the current single, "Finding Out True Love Is Blind", Hill can't choose between simple girls with dirty looks or smart ones with their books. It fizzed live as Karscig replied to his writing partner's harsh tones in a cute falsetto.
Even better was "God Killed the Queen", when their guitars interlocked to form one complex, edgy riff. Shame, then, when they descended to the pastiche of "A Letter to Dominique": not so much a homage to T-Rex as, to these ears, note-for-note "Metal Guru". They used glam styles to more compelling effect on the stomping "Illegal Tender" where Hill and Karscig indulged in Marc-Bolan-style vowel-mangling. "It takes a lavar that will lav me like no avvar," the pair sang, their enthusiasm ensuring the pastiche was welcome.
Beyond these party-pieces, Hill gamely varied the band's textures. A bloodless stab at a slide guitar instrumental went precisely nowhere, but the song "Ball of Twine" showed much more panache.
In such moments, Louis XIV combine a sense of careless fun with pride in their craft. They will still struggle to outshine the hoary back-to-basics grind of Jet, and The Hives' overdone flamboyance, but they have already made it out of San Diego. A place in rock royalty surely beckons.Reuse content