Reviewed by Jane Roser
Carter Tanton, of the Baltimore based indie rock band Lower Dens, released the first album with his new project Luxury Liners today on the Western Vinyl label and although it’s nothing to write home about, for someone like me who equates listening to any sort of electro pop music to Tammy Faye Baker’s singing voice, it’s pretty darn good.
Tanton is hugely influenced by The Velvet Underground’s John Cale and this album initially started off as a cover of Cale tunes (A six degree of separation fact: my former boss, Betsey Johnson, was married to John Cale for a hot minute in the late 60’s.)
The first track, “Caribbean Sunset”, is a song John Cale co-wrote in 1983 for his ninth studio album, which was pretty much panned by critics. After listening to both versions, I have to agree with the popularity vote on iTunes and say that Carter Tanton’s version is better. It’s clean, fun and I like the echo effect on the vocals.
From there, it lost me for a bit. “Memphis Alex” and “Valley High” had annoying constant drum beats that don’t mix it up, just a constant boom boom. My attention span waivers at 30 seconds and this lasted for 1.23 minutes, so you can understand why I had to get up and make more coffee at the 1.24 minute mark.
“Sit & See” is, by far, my favorite song on the album. I liked it so much, I played it on repeat three times. It’s catchy, fun and the lyrics are interesting. Why does this girl carry her luggage around a nightclub? I’m intrigued and want to know more! It reminded me of an 80’s pop tune that you never tire of with lyrics such as “In the back of the club I sit and see, but the girl I want is a mystery, she hardly touches the ground.”
After the rollicking gaiety of “Lash By Lash”, I was getting into this album quite nicely, until the acid trip of ‘Life’s A Beach” came on and I decided I needed stronger coffee.
My final thoughts: pay the 99 cents for “Sit and See” and “Lash By Lash” and then take your $7.01 left over and buy a burrito. You’ll be fully satisfied.