Louis XIV
April 6, 2005 – El Corazon – Seattle, WA
by Ashley Graham

There was a time, not too long ago, when that blend of dance and pop worked well with indie rock.  It was fresh, new, exciting even.  Unfortunately, like all musical trends, the tired genre seems to be reaching its end. Looking back I’m led to believe it was the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Killers and their over-the-top MTV/VH1 success that killed it, but I don’t like to point fingers. Point is, it’s all but dead.  Upstarts like Kaiser Chiefs are trying to rework it with varying techniques and varieties, and are succeeding to some extent – but then we’re also given acts like The Bravery that serve only to beat it further into our heads just how tired we really are of the repetition.

Enter Louis XIV.

I attended Louis XIV’s show without knowing anything of them other than a brief clip of their recent video for the song “Finding Out True Love is Blind.”  The video was not a particularly overwhelming introduction, but I was still hopeful they’d grab me at the show.  Nothing anywhere near that occurred.

Lead singer Jason Hill doesn’t have the voice to lead this band and guitarist Brian Karscig sharing vocals would be a welcome addition if he had the voice to support Hill, but he really doesn’t have it either.  Some of the songs are catchy, but essentially they are repetitious and boring.

I’m a big fan of relatively-new bands knowing who and what they are.  I want a young band to impress me with their live show but not in so much as they act like they have some elevated, important status that they have yet to achieve.  Louis XIV’s stage show is mostly overconfident and, as a result, unimportant.

But I seemed in a minority at the show as far as my attitude.  The crowd was mostly Seattle’s younger age groups who welcome the all-ages shows with open arms and pumping fists.  A lot of them appeared to know the words to the songs, and maybe that’s a prerequisite for being able to differentiate one song from the next, because I sure couldn’t.

The songs on their latest album
The Best Little Secrets Are Kept are much better than those that come out live, and on the record you don’t have to deal with that pesky attitude and stage presence, just the annoyingly oversexed lyrical content – but watch out for standout tracks like “Illegal Tender,” “Louis XIV” and “Paper Doll.”
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