Louis XIV - Illegal Tender (Cover Artwork)

Louis XIV

Louis XIV: Illegal TenderIllegal Tender (2005)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Louis XIV, par la grâce de Dieu roi de France et de Navarre... There's something remarkably pompous about naming a band after the Sun King, as his name conveys a sense of splendor and decadence that one assumes would seem rather soulless and vapid in a band. San Diego's Louis XIV is anything but.

Louis XIV, par la grâce de Dieu roi de France et de Navarre...

There's something remarkably pompous about naming a band after the Sun King, as his name conveys a sense of splendor and decadence that one assumes would seem rather soulless and vapid in a band. San Diego's Louis XIV is anything but, and their new EP Illegal Tender sets a high bar for their impending full length.

With gigs supporting the Killers under their belt and an impending tour with Hot Hot Heat it's easy to jump to the conclusion that Louis XIV falls into the same batch of new wave revivalists. However that's not accurate at all as Louis XIV draw from a far deeper-rooted set of influences, everything from Voidoids-style NYC punk to British guitar pop (with a bit of glam swagger for good measure). Jason Hill still shows shades of his past fronting Convoy, but the Stones / Beach Boys influences that band so readily flaunted are far less apparent here. This EP is in fact Louis XIV's third and follows up a self-released full-length, but it's their first under a new arrangement with Atlantic. With the major label push and their already hipster-friendly tour partners, prepare for an onslaught of hype in the coming months.

So before NME throws its sensationalist press machine into overdrive and you settle into that inevitable pit of resulting apathy, there's plenty to get excited about with Illegal Tender. The song "Louis XIV" stomps and swaggers with an oversexual Stooges / Velvet Underground feel. Hill's obviously having too much fun to keep up his Lou Reed monotone up for long, and the band's songwriting quickly departs from expected garage-rock territory with the single "Finding Out True Love Is Blind." The song makes every effort to come off as offensive and overconfident, only to be curiously broken up by Lindsey Troy's guest vocals. It has the effect of turning what's otherwise a dumb song about sex into something a bit more clever and self-aware. The title track is wonderfully bizarre. It's a march done entirely in quirky spoken vocals that calls to mind the familiar "There is a man..." rhyme from Citizen Kane (which also appeared verbatim in the White Stripes song "The Union Forever"). Even more striking is the rhythm of the song, which is eerily similar to the classic novelty "They're Coming To Take Me Away (ha ha)" by (and this is too perfect to be anything but deliberate) the late 60's band Napoleon XIV. The following "Marc" is a complete a 180-degree turn: a sensitive piano ballad that falls somewhere on the family tree between Ziggy Stardust and 90's Britpop. The instrumental "Louis Reprise" wraps up the EP with a curious and playful mix of horns, violins and handclaps. It's an odd ending that completely breaks any genre mold the previous songs may have created and leaves one with the distinct impression that Louis XIV has no intentions of getting too comfortable with one style.

Jason Hill told PopMatters that after being burned by the end results of the last Convoy full-length he "can't imagine handing off our songs to anyone else now." This reportedly resulted in an Atlantic deal that guarantees the band the power to self-produce their coming material. If that's true, then there's plenty of hope that their upcoming full-length (and beyond) will be something to pay attention to. The last thing Louis XIV needs at this point is someone to rein in their eccentricities.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 14, 2005)

i love them soooo much
brian is my boo..lol

Anonymous (February 7, 2005)

Louis the fourteenth is lame ass radio bullshit music. They blow meatsticks along with their best friends franz ferdinand and the killers.

lushj (February 5, 2005)

Bummer, I thought this was a "lifestyle band" like the Upper Crust. Then we could have a "Battle Royale with Cheese" tour with The Upper Crust versus Louis XIV. Finally, the French versus English animosity could be settled where it oughta be- on a rocknroll stage! The Yuppie Pricks could open, to get the juices of elitist rock flowing...

Anonymous (February 3, 2005)

Indie 103.1 has been playing these guys for almost 6 months actually. KROQ jumped on the bandwagon about a month ago.

I saw these guys back in may or june open up for the Backyard Babies. Fun band

Anonymous (February 3, 2005)

BSD is such a fucking fag.

Anonymous (February 3, 2005)

I miss Convoy,but Louis xiv flat out rocks!!

Anonymous (February 2, 2005)

I'm sick of "stomping sexuality". Maybe I'm too exposed. I don't know.

Nothing makes me more apathetic about a band than more sexual double entendres and "rampant sexuality".


Anonymous (February 2, 2005)

one of those chick's boobs is saggy

swingline (February 2, 2005)

where do i need to be to receive indie 103.1 without a shit load of static?

Anonymous (February 1, 2005)

indie 103.1 plays finding out true love is blind every single day when i'm driving home from work. for about the past month and a half, maybe more. i actually still don't really mind the song, which is surprising.

Anchors (February 1, 2005)

Speaking of Louis XIV, anybody know when the Spirit Of Versailles reunion show is going down?

tristan (February 1, 2005)

If youâ??re not rocking to â??Finding Out True Love Is Blindâ? by the time you read this, itâ??s probably because your idea of the club scene is the Hair Club for Men.

Anonymous (February 1, 2005)

Rolling Stone is an embaresment(sic?) to music. I do like when they do articles on John Stewart though, cuz he rules. They write good articles every now and then, they just know nothing about music. I like how they lumped The Blood Brothers in with "emo". Rolling Stone can go fuck itself.


Anonymous (February 1, 2005)

"Beloved of US hipsters who like to make-believe that they are British"

maybe its the fact that, with the exception of the stooges and ramones and very few others, most major american rock n roll music fucking blows.

adam (February 1, 2005)

See I actually sort of like NME, at least their website, which I check daily. On one hand they're horribly sensationalistic (everything's a SHOCKER! or BREAKING NEWS! or EXCLUSIVE!) and talk some bands to death (Razorlight, Libertines), but I'm sort of charmed that they're still excited about rock music. You read Rolling Stone nowadays and it's all about vapid pop stars, fashion, or odd expose stories that have nothing to do with music.


ThriveToFailure (February 1, 2005)

NME: UK based weekly music paper. Beloved of US hipsters who like to make-believe that they are British and, because of the current exchange rate, pay far more for their copies than we do.

theevilmonkey (February 1, 2005)

Score is for the boobs. One star for each,. like Janet Jackson,

Anonymous (February 1, 2005)

I dont pay much attention to the press...what the hell is NME? I hear everyone damning them constantly.


CallingLondon (February 1, 2005)

i'm definitely interested but i'm not buying a new cd based soley on a review, as good as it is. gimme mp3s. i need someone to restore my slowly dying faith in rock n' roll.

Anonymous (February 1, 2005)

This score is for the early in the day posting of new reviews.

It also represents Anntti Autti's gold-medal superpipe run last night... though I'd take Danny Kass' Ipod playlist first any day.


sickboi (February 1, 2005)

Fuck "new" New Wave.

ThriveToFailure (February 1, 2005)

Score is for the NME... and censoring the cover.

Potatoeboy56 (February 1, 2005)

Score is for the single "finding out true love is blind." Although good, it still doesnt make up for the fact we lost an awesome band in Convoy.

Anonymous (February 1, 2005)

My interest is piqued... any mp3's?

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