Lux Deluxe had a very specific goal for their new album, It’s a Girl, out April 15 on SpiritHouse Music. It’s the second LP from a group that has clearly hit its stride, and at an enviable age: the oldest of them is just 22, and they play with rare self-assurance. It shows on It’s a Girl.
“What we wanted it to be, more than anything, was a coherent piece of art you can listen to all the way through,” says bassist Jacob Rosazza, who is one of the band’s two primary songwriters, along with singer Ned King.
It’s a Girl is certainly that. Lux Deluxe wanted the album to reflect their combustible live performances. To get there, they spent the better part of two years honing their songs and their sound, merging the divergent personalities of the musicians — three cousins who have been playing together for a decade, and two friends — into one distinct band identity that reflects the strengths they’ve been developing since joining forces in 2009 in Northampton, Mass.
“This record is a lot more about the band than the songs,” says Rosazza. “You really get the vibe of the band.”
That’s not to downplay the songs. It’s a Girl features 10 smart, catchy tunes that evoke Lux Deluxe’s influences — think revered veterans like the Beatles, Dire Straits and NRBQ, along with latter-day favorites including Wilco and Dr. Dog — while moving the band out from under their shadow. You can hear it in King’s easy drawl over a tight bassline and swirls of keyboards from Gabe Bernini on opener “So Far Away,” or in the way “The Last Volunteer” builds from a looping keyboard line and King’s vocals to thick ropes of noisy guitar from Caleb Rosazza uncoiling over a rock-solid beat laid down by drummer Jake Edwards. The lush sound of strings sweeps through the synth-centric “What You Need,” while a tangle of punchy, in-your-face guitars leaps out of “Talk to Her.” On every song, there’s always something more to discover, which was very much by design.
“When I listen to a record, I like to hear stuff I didn’t notice the first time,” King says.
The band’s attention to detail is a valuable asset, especially in a place like Northampton: it takes more than luck to stand out in a western Massachusetts scene that is home to a wide array of acclaimed musicians, including members of Sonic Youth, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr.
“You want to earn the respect of those people, you want them to notice you,” King says. “Becoming a serious band here means earning your place. It’s a high bar, but it’s a good bar to set for yourself, to always be better.”
It’s a Girl is the work of a decidedly serious band, and with it Lux Deluxe has earned a place among the ranks of acts well worth paying attention to.
released 29 July 2014
Mastered by Alex Saltz at APS Mastering, NYC.
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