Album Reviews: De Lux’s Scion AV Presents De Lux and Soundgarden’s Screaming Life/Fopp (reissue)



De Lux

Scion AV Presents De Lux

Scion AV

Digital Release Date: November 19, 2013

CD/LP Release Date: December 10, 2013

Track Listing

  1. Better At Making Time
  2. I’ve Got To Make A Statement (No More Likes Or Ums)
  3. Love Is A Phase
  4. Move Through Your Memories
  5. Make Space – Visitors Remix (Sal P. Dennis Citizen Kane)

De Lux is the self-described “post-disco/post-dance punk” duo of Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco. Although both Guerin and Franco are relatively young – they’re in their early 20s – the pair have been individually creating music heavily influenced by old school boogie, as well as classic and obscure disco. Interestingly, both had met kind of recently as they were in a band together before they went out on their own as De Lux, a project which allows them to focus on their lifelong obsession with the groove. Released digitally in November and in CD/LP last week as part of Scion Audio Visual’s series supporting forward-thinking artists, the duo’s self-titled debut EP may well put them out on the national stage as EDM artists to pay attention to. The duo’s first single and EP opening track, “Better At Making Time” is a funky track that thanks to its shimmering, sinuous bass line and emphasis on cowbell sounds as though it could have been played in a disco between roughly 1978-1984 – that is until you hear the hazy synths that pull the song towards New Wave territory. “I’ve Got To Make A Statement (No More Likes or Ums)” starts off with glitchy, swirling electronics and explosive handclaps before hazy synths and reminds me quite a bit of LCD Soundsystem’s 45:33.”Love Is A Phase” starts off with explosive handclaps that initially reminded me of the Talking HeadsGirlfriend Is Better” before the layers upon layers of undulating synths reminiscent of A Flock of Seagulls and others – but with a propulsive bass line that pulls the song forward towards its conclusion. “Move Through Your Memories,” owes a great debt to house music – as filtered through DFA Records and LCD Soundsystem. “Make Space – Visitors Remix” is a slickly produced song with layers upon layers of propulsive synth, placed on top of a seductive and propulsive bass line that subtly changes a couple of notes in a way that’s surprising. As an album the EP reveals that the duo of De Lux is an incredibly gifted production team with a knack for crafting densely layered, slickly produced songs with infectious hooks that bring you back for more and with repeated listens you pick up something you hadn’t noticed before.



Screaming Life/Fopp EP – reissue

Sub Pop Records

Release Date: November 26, 2013

Track Listing

  1. Hunted Down
  2. Entering
  3. Tears to Forget
  4. Nothing to Say
  5. Little Joe
  6. Hand of God
  7. Sub Pop Rock City
  8. Fopp
  9. Fopp (Fucked Up Heavy Dub Mix)
  10. Kingdom of Come
  11. Swallow My Pride


There are some bands whose sound makes such a forceful and immediate impression that you can remember the first time you had ever heard them — and will likely be able to remember it for the rest of your life. The first time I had ever heard Soundgarden, I was watching MTV‘s Headbanger’s Ball. I could clearly remember the show’s host Rikki Rachtman telling viewers that they needed to check out Soundgarden, from Seattle. He specifically mentioned that everyone needed to check out Chris Cornell because he was a little guy with a gigantic voice. And then it was followed by the video for “Outshined“ off Badmotorfinger. My mind was absolutely blown by that sound — Kim Thayill’s guitar playing was (and still is) incredible, and Chris Cornell’s voice can blow a roof down. But what’s sadly forgotten is that when Soundgarden started their incredible career, they were originally signed to Sub Pop Records, and that the now-legendary grunge rock/alternative rock/indie rock label released the band’s earliest records — including their debut Screaming Life and the wildly experimental Fopp EP.

   The famed Seattle, WA-based label will be re-issued both Screaming Life and the Fopp EP back in November, marking the first time both albums will be available through digital formats. And it marked the first time that both albums will be available on vinyl since sometime in the late 80s/early 90s. Naturally, the re-issue, thanks to advances in technology needed to be re-mastered, and it was re-mastered from the 8 track analog masters, from the July 1986 studio sessions recorded under the helm of the album’s producer and engineer Jack Endino. Endino has described the Screaming Life/Fopp sessions as being a profoundly interesting time for him, as the sessions also marked the first time he had worked with a band other than his own. And as he describes it, he and the band were “trying to make the most of our eight tracks. Somehow we found room for all of Matt Cameron’s ‘bonus tubs,’ Hiro’s” (the band’s original bassist) “primordial Fender bass, and a whopping four tracks to share between Kim Thayill’s mad guitar psychedelica and Chris Cornell’s still-expanding voice.

   Soundgarden’s sound has become quite familiar over the years but, the re-issue of the band’s first recorded efforts will remind fans of the band’s earliest days when the band and their sound was much rawer and came from the primordial ooze of what was soon to be known as grunge, possessing elements of punk rock and heavy metal. In the case of Fopp, Soundgarden manages to play with a bit of funk, in a style somewhat similar to that of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is both interesting and very odd. But throughout Screaming Life there’s this sense that the members of Soundgarden would soon be on to something. The re-issue’s first single, “Nothing to Say,” album opener “Hunted Down,” “Entering” and “Tears to Forget” manage to presage the sound of Badmotorfinger by 5 years – in particular, they sound like the forebears of “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Rusty Cage” and “Outshined.” By far, “Nothing to Say” is the most distinct highlight of the entire album. As Endino recalls “‘Nothing to Say’ was the song that made us all look at each other and go ‘uh, holy crap, how did we do this?’” That shouldn’t be a surprise as it’s the thunderous sound of a band that would write songs that could practically knock the roof off an arena. Granted, the re-issue will be more for the die-hard Soundgarden fan and the Soundgarden completist than for the casual fan but in some way small way it’s a revelatory experience.