Menu | Rating System | Guest Book
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
(Older reviews archived alphabetically by artist name.)

Release Date:
Reviewed by:

Although they had been highly recommended to me for months, I didn't see Atlanta band Luigi in concert until this year's Corndog-o-rama. I really liked their college town-esque Indie Pop at the time. And, in the times I've seen them since, I've thought their shows have become better and better. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Luigi are currently one of my favorite local live bands.

At that first show, we picked up a copy of their first release, Vamonos, which was apparently recorded nearly a year before I first saw them in concert. When I first put the album in, I immediately thought, "This isn't as good as their live shows."

But this was an unfair judgment. Upon further listens, it became clear that the album's strongest point were quite a good reflection of the band's talents. For instance, the first song, Heaven's Mouth, has fuzzed out guitars played by Michelle DuBois and Johnny McConnell which echo and give the song a rock feel that contrasts with the more jangly part played by bassist Scott Rowe, all the while Dubois's voice acts a high melodic counterpoint which lightens the entire song and makes it sound less hard. Likewise, Squeeze (I got your teeth) is a nugget of pure Indie pop, driven by the sharp percussion of Brian Fletcher that alternates with the jangly chords of Dubois and McConnell. And like Heaven's Mouth, this song too becomes more musically fuzzed out and distorted as it moves into the chorus. To me, it sounds like a lost musical artifact from 1993, back when the Archers of Loaf and Superchunk dominated my musical tastes.

Certainly, the best of Luigi's songs combine the afore-mentioned elements in order to create bouncy, hummable tunes that still have a rocking, albeit jangly, edge. In fact, Things We Say really brings that jangly-ness to the forefront, and is perhaps most reminiscent of the work of Dubois's previous band, Ultrababyfat. But the album's highlight, in my opinion, is Come Forward, the next to last song on Vamonos. Beginning with an almost polka-ish beat, the song sounds like a rock take on a honky-tonk dance tune. The chorus acts as a catharsis, as the music breaks out of the contained, measured drumbeat of the verse. The combination is compelling and catchy, and shows that Luigi as a whole are a really knowledgeable rock band.

However, Vamonos is by no means perfect. The slower moments of the album, like Today and Home, aren't as cohesive as the rockier parts. Similarly, you can tell that the songs were recorded before they were tested live. The musical parts aren't as self-assured as they are in concert, and Dubois's voice is very prominent in the mix. But this tentative quality seems to be common in Indie Rock recordings. Off the top of my head, I can name scores of bands who recorded their albums before they played out much. In almost all cases, the material represented on the records was improved by the forced crucible of the concert experience.

But this is not to underestimate the power of Vamonos. Even at that early stage of their career, Luigi had the ability to craft catchy tunes with hooky choruses and memorable melodies. For instance, since I first heard the album, I've found myself in the middle of a meeting at work humming Step Forward. Or, Heaven's Mouth would pop into my head while I was monitoring a server. And with this in mind, Vamonos is certainly worth a listen, especially if you like good, jangly Indie Pop.

Related Links:

Luigi played at Corndog-o-rama 04, and also played at The EARL on Fri.30.July.04.


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.