LA band De Lux composes dance music but it’s not EDM or disco (despite a 2018 album entitled “More Disco Songs About Love”). Their songs are simply very danceable and last night, the quintet jammed during a beautiful summer night in Pasadena, in the upscale surroundings of One Colorado’s courtyard. Founded by Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco, the band has been active since 2014 and they are about to release their fourth album via Innovative Leisure in September.
Years ago, I remember seeing them during one of the Twilight concerts at the Santa Monica pier — the concerts were interrupted by the pandemic and haven’t come back yet. At the time, De Lux’s savant mix of pop, new wave, funk, and disco had made a big impression, while I clearly remember a recurrent David Byrne/Talking Heads vibe. Since that time, De Lux has released 3 albums and 3 EPs, as well as a handful of remixes and singles, played numerous festivals such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Panorama, and opened for bands such as UMO, Interpol, and Cut Copy.
Their style is difficult to pinpoint, but the beats were present as soon as they started the first song, “LA Threshold,” delivered with nonchalance and a touch of Byrne in the vocals: “to be in a band in LA is as uncontrollable/As it is a cliché,” sang Sean Guerin who was holding a bottle and wearing an unexpected bathrobe, that he didn’t keep for long. He adopted a serious falsetto during their new single, “New Summers,” a dancefloor completed with funky guitars, a carefree, nostalgic tune, and lyrics telling us, “New summers gonna kill my vibe.”
Fusion of dance-punk with electro vintage disco beats couldn’t have been more obvious during “Better at Making Time,” an older song completed with cowbells, and somewhat reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem’s unique style. From the electro-pop hooks of “Someday Now” to the pulsing synths and infectious disco tempo of “875 Dollars,” or “Cause for Concern,” they made the entire courtyard dance for more than an hour. They certainly had the hooks and extended grooves, without missing the cowbells and percussion, cynical social-commentary lyrics, and that undeniable and persistent Byrne vibe behind songs like “What’s Life.”
Performed on piano, “Morning Misses Me” was a change of pace, a wide-eyed lullaby about being a night owl, and a sure departure from their usual synth-layered-post-disco-funk, while “Cool Up” renewed with the dance beats (disco and not so disco) and had the potential of a late-night club scene, closing this warm summer night while pleasing a sweaty crowd.
Better at Making Time
Cause for Concern
Brighter End of Dark
Morning Misses Me
It All Works All the Time
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