Lizard Kings

Is Louis XIV just another hot-to-trot retro rock band, or something far more sinister?

No. 6: Louis XIV's Music Can't Get It Up

Maybe my feminist panties wouldn't be in quite such a big, cranky bunch if Louis XIV could put its sound where its dirty little mouth is. The music on Secrets is catchy and familiar, chock-full of naughty little handclaps and glammy, garage-y licks. If I don't listen to the words at all, I kind of like it, maybe even like-like it. But none of the rock-hard riffs has much potency or staying power -- certainly not enough to make even a one-night stand with the lyrics worth it.

No. 7: Size Matters

Finally, could there be a more self-aggrandizing band name? If a bunch of rockers draw a nominal connection, satirical or not, between themselves and a megalomaniacal ruler/ladies' man of epic proportions, then back it up with snide vocals and raunchy lyrics so full of hubris that they nearly trip over themselves in their effort to swagger, whatever said band is really packing can only drastically pale in comparison. It's like naming your band "Ron Jeremy."

OK, so after all this, some of you may still be rolling your eyes because I've missed the joke, haven't I? Louis XIV's offenses are safe because the band isn't serious about all this misogyny business -- it's parodying rock's dirty dinos. Or at least that's what the majority of the music press seems to be selling. (Says Rolling Stone, Louis XIV "[p]airs the thrilling hedonism of early-Seventies T. Rex and David Bowie with cartoonishly sexed-up vocals that make winking fun of glitter rock's excesses.") But I don't think I'm in the market for a cop-out. Hill quite clearly -- and seriously -- sees his band as part of the lineage of great rock 'n' rollers. When asked about how, um, analogous its sound is to that of bands like the Stones and T. Rex, Hill responds, "It's good company to be in, I suppose. ... I mean, it doesn't get much cooler than Ronnie Wood or Keith Richards. I love the Stones. I love T. Rex. You know, I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a big Marc Bolan fan." Irony, in the right hands, can be a sharp, hilarious critique -- but Louis XIV very obviously isn't in the business of searing, sidesplitting camp. And writing off all the band's questionable taste as mere parody makes it far too difficult to criticize Louis XIV for how truly offensive and offensively derivative its music is.

If we look past all the icky, not-so-attractive stuff, Hill and company may seem charming, even a little cute. But we don't have to give it up on the first date, at least not to this latest hot young thing to blow through town. There are bigger, more interesting fish in the sea.

Top Six Things Jason Hill Said to Me With a Straight Face
No. 6: "We've heard so many comparisons. ... I think that's just what happens when people don't know, you know, when you have a new sound, I suppose."

No. 5: "You gotta be careful what you listen to as an artist, because you'll kind of spit it out there when you least expect it."

No. 4: When asked whether the band really is as lucky with the ladies as its songs imply: "A gentleman never speaks -- that's the way I feel about it. I mean, I do pride myself on being a gentleman and having class, and I wouldn't ever tell, you know, I couldn't ever talk about such things." Unless they're in a song, of course.

No. 3: "I don't find [the album] degrading, and, you know, I personally have never met a girl that found it degrading. I'm sure they're out there if they read into it the wrong way."

No. 2: "[The album is] certainly not racist, I mean, if only mostly because everybody in the band has a thing for Asian and black girls."

No. 1: In response to implications that his band may be sexist: "I'm a guy that literally plays with teddy bears, I literally do! I have a teddy bear here with me right now! You know, I love 'em. I love soft things." -- R.D.

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