A new feature this month – new band of the month. As parents we struggle to keep up with new music. I recently read an NME feature titled ‘5 new bands you must hear this week’. I struggle to listen to five new bands a year nowadays, so one carefully selected new band each month seems about right. This month, our resident new music expert Ian MacDonald writres about De Lux and their album Generations:
Since the arrival of broadband internet in the mid-noughties and the digital revolution that erupted almost immediately afterwards, there have been at least three key game changers in the music industry as we know it.
Firstly, every musical genre or subgenre that has ever existed is now simultaneously undergoing some kind of revival; secondly, the music scene itself has become truly global, with many new bands drawing a myriad of disparate influences into their sound that know no geographical or chronological boundaries; thirdly, with the advent of streaming services such as Spotify and their integration with online blogs and social media platforms such as Facebook, the means of sharing this music and ‘spreading the word’ about emerging bands has become truly viral. It’s a staggering sea change for a mere ten years and raises many questions (and concerns) about what will happen next?
Its’ this theme of future shock which is explored with a deliciously wry dystopia on list song ‘Oh Man the Future’ taken from LA duo De Lux’s sophomore album. Singer Sean Guerin reverently channels a feverish David Byrne,speculating conspiratorially over contrastingly euphoric chords and spiky guitar stabs, one foot firmly planted in ‘’Remain in Light’ era Talking Heads and the other in DFA records supremo James Murphy’s punk funk.
In fact, the themes and lyrics explored in ‘Generations’ are often sharply and deliberately contrastive with the upbeat vibe which permeate an album that reveals a confident marriage of contemporary commentary and existential angst in equal measure, expertly welded to defiantly blatant musical influences spanning three decades of organic and electronic dance music.
Whilst De Lux’s glass appears perpetually half-full, there is a clear advocacy of therapy to be gained through hedonism. This is particularly evident on the lazy, sunny funk looped groove of ‘When your life feels like a loss’ which offers itself as an antidote to the overwhelming pressure to confirm to the pace of modern life – “Only now / I start to realise / That all my hopes and dreams / Are all of my dreams” – reminding us of the need to check yourself periodically for fear of falling off the edge.
Similarly ‘No one really cares who you are’ manages to join the dots seamlessly between disco and rare groove whilst railing against the loneliness of modern life with falsetto majesty.
‘It’s a combination’ by contrast cranks up the tempo and sprinkles cosmic space dust on an analogue disco trip of pure unadulterated abandonment to the groove.
In an era where it is possible to feel ever more insignificant about your place in an increasingly connected world, De Lux offer an hour of much needed escapism in this love letter to NY underground music of the past given a nu-disco polish for the age of globalisation.
Ian Macdonald is a former music journalist and curates a new music playlist on Spotify called ‘New Music Alternative 2015’ you can follow it here …