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Luxury Car

When I Was Good (Biphonic)

By • Feb 1st, 2011 • Category: Album review

The second outing from electronic pop duo Luxury Car is a short but rather sweet record. Icy, stark and stripped back it sounds like mid-period Depeche Mode meets Arcade Fire. The latter reference appropriate in terms of vocals, like heard in Win Butler’s voice, there’s an emotive severity and righteousness in John Robertson’s lyrics. In the first track ‘Hit By a Car’ he yells out “I was stabbed in the heart, and it stopped, they had to restart”. It’s a fantastic opener, with the craziest synthesiser sound I’ve heard in a while. No ‘presets’ here guys.

The beat of ‘Discrete Packages’ quickly warms up the album ready for ‘I Play The Guitar’. A stand out song, it immediately hooks into the listener with some magnetic guitar picking. The best part of this song though is in the last minute or so. A whole new segment begins; a chorus in itself. The snare kicks in for the first time in the album, it begins to gain pace. Again, some interesting words, Robertson singing how his mother cooks and cleans whilst he gets under her feet. The lyrics are blunt; you kind of don’t know how to take them but in a strangely comforting way.

Next is the album’s title track ‘When I Was Good’. Progressive like the previous song, it becomes euphoric as it builds, again displaying some fairly unique synthesizer squeaks and squeals. ‘Hinderland’ provides a rhythmic charge, marching its way through whilst coupling up with some oscillated keyboards and uplifting backing vocals.

The album ends on an all acoustic note ‘Shame’. A classic manoeuvre for any artist arranging an album, it usually works and is indeed the case here. Very Celtic guitar on show, it leads for a clean and contrasting end to an accomplished record.
This seven track LP doesn’t show off any pointless prowess or thrills. It does however hold honest and unique themes throughout, marrying them with wondrous and wacky electronic sounds. If you enjoy folk style storytelling set to an urban sound track with hollers of modernity then Luxury Car make for a very enjoyable listen.

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