Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Golden Vault’, where we delve into the annals of music to bring you a classic album. You’ll know some like the back of your hand and nothing of others. We hope to get you reacquainted with old friends and create new favourites. The album to be taken out of the Golden Vault for reappraisal this week is 'The Best Little Secrets Are Kept' by Louis XIV.
It’s been 15 years since the band Louis XIV exploded onto the music scene with their second album, ‘The Best Little Secrets Are Kept’. Comprised of Californians, Jason Hill, Brian Karscig, Mark Maigaard and James Armbrust, the band enjoyed 6 years of moderate success before calling it quits.
Their first album, which was self-titled, was recorded in 2003 in a basement of the Spanish district of Paris. The band was signed to a label owned by Hill and Karscig who didn’t have enough money to get the album officially pressed. Instead, they just burned the CDs themselves and sold them at their shows. They sold over 15,000 albums this way.
It’s hard to describe Louis XIV. Their songs are catchy as fuck, their lyrics are sleazy and their choppy guitar licks are addictive.
The band enjoyed a brief career that really took off in 2005 with the release of ‘The Best Little Secrets Are Kept’. With this album, they were catapulted to the forefront of the music scene and saw them playing with the likes of The Killers, Coldplay, The Futureheads and Keane.
The praise that they are most proud of came when the late great, David Bowie himself described them as one of his favourite bands and invited them to play at his last ever live performance back in 2006.
They quickly earned themselves a bit of a reputation for their sexually provocative lyrics and they also managed to get banned from a number of shops across the USA as the cover of their album had the track list written on the back of a naked woman. They were also banned from a school in Alabama who had invited them to perform at a concert there. Though in retrospect, the school should have thought twice before inviting a band who spend most of their songs singing about sex to a school full of hormonal teenagers. But, like the saying goes… Any press is good press.
The second album really is fantastic. It includes their two singles, Finding Out true Love Is Blind and God Killed The Queen. The whole album plays so well and really feels like a complete piece of artwork, rather than just a couple of good songs. There is no dead weight in the album, which is a rare thing to come across. The penultimate song, All The Little Pieces is a deeply beautiful and melancholic song that sounds very reminiscent of a Beatles song.
So what happened to them? Well in 2008, they release their third album, ‘Sick Dogs and Ponies’ which met largely negative reviews. Brian then left the band in 2009 to start a new band called The Nervous Wreckchords, saying that he didn’t feel happy in Louis XIV any more. He explained:
"Louis XIV started to feel more like a business than a camaraderie, and in that, the music started to suffer and started feeling uninspired."
They officially announced their break up on July 3, 2009. Jason went in a completely different direction and began working as a composer for film and TV. He has done work with acclaimed director, David Fincher on the movie, Gone Girl and Netflix TV show, Mindhunter.
In 2012 Hill confirmed that the band had reunited and played a few shows with The Killers. They were pretty quiet until 2020 when their released their first song in ten years, titled Playtime.
Do they still have that spark that so many people fell in love with 15 years ago? Only time will tell, but Playtime is a fun song and will hopefully sow the seeds for further greatness.