Heavily influenced by Talking Heads, Brian Eno and LCD Soundsystem, De Lux shows with Generation that it’s ok to be influenced by your heroes and that you can still make something new from it.
Oh Man the Future is focused on despair of the future dystopia, Sean Guerin singing a frantic list comprised of flying cars, cyborgs and World War 4, but manages to turn that crushing panic into something you can dance to.
“39 more U.S. presidents until a woman finally makes it into office -not that it'll really matter- but a year later a revolution happens and the war for hunger and poverty ends; the government is destroyed (Oh man, the future!)”
Oh Man the Future feels like the Once in a Lifetime of this album, and my god it’s a strong song, with Sean's exhortations of “oh man the future!” becoming more frequent until it’s repeated once every other line, becoming a mantra, losing meaning through repetition and feeling like one big long stream of consciousness. 30 is reminiscent of Rip it Up and Start Again by Orange Juice, but the singing is distant and far away, like it’s heard faintly through a closed window giving you a strange feeling of disassociation, like an out of body disco. The whole album is a series of strange and disparate images transfused with funk and synths and feels like a lost Talking Heads album remixed by LCD Soundsystem. I’ll try to make that my last comparison to LCD and Talking Heads, but to be quite honest, it’s a hard call to make as De Lux really does bear an uncanny sonic resemblance to them. It’s like asking somebody not to compare Tori Amos to Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell – the resemblance is there, and it’s not going to go away just because you don’t acknowledge it.
I can’t help but be reminded of my disappointment in Arcade Fire’s Reflector album. I heard the titular single of that album, and hearing Bowie doing backing vocals and the Eno-esque brass instruments in the background and the synth beat, I thought I was going to get Arcade Fire’s Berlin album, and that they were going to go all Station to Station, or that it would be a new and darker sound like what was a totaly sea change in Depeche Mode when they recorded Construction Time is Here Again. What I got instead was an album that wasn’t anywhere near as dark, interesting and weird as I wanted – it was like Arcade Fire through the lens of LCD Soundsystem, and as a result wasn’t as good as either. However the key difference here if that De Lux has managed to pull off what Arcade Fire didn’t, and makes an album as funky as it is compelling and strange. It is an album that is the sum of its influences, Talking Heads, Eno and LCD, but De Lux does it so masterfully it doesn’t really matter – it’s a great album in its own right, it’s social conscience funk with post-punk and disco beats. A lyric in Oh Man the Future manages to sum it up better than I ever could:
“Lots of people seem to be trying to do what others are not doing, but they don't just switch, since everyone is trying to do what everyone is not doing, it turns into what everyone was essentially doing”
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.