According to Wikipedia, “Populuxe” was a consumer culture and aesthetic in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s, with the term being a combination of “popular” and “luxury”. It’s a particularly apt name for the modern-art trio from Brooklyn, New York, who constantly find ways to reinvent themselves, with each new release. Their latest album, ‘Lumiere’, released last year, is a lush, aesthetically pleasing, mash-up of sounds akin to that of Pink Floyd and David Bowie.
Speaking of their music, Populuxe’s Rob Shapiro said,
“We were a bunch inquisitive kids who were steeped in the wide-ranging radio of the 1970’s, fed a steady diet of crass commercialism and experienced a slew of emotionally confusing events.”
Comprising the afore-mentioned Rob, as well as Mike Mallory, and Mark Pardy, Populuxe joined forces around 1995, and have released three full-length albums, and one mini-opera EP. Their music has been described as the “Gershwin Bros writing for the New York Dolls”, and they’ve found a fanbase which transcends that of popular music lovers.
‘Lumiere’ is probably their most serious, and yet most playful, album so far. The trio clearly love music, they love to make music together, they love to share their music. The eight-track album is an easy listening joy, particularly if you enjoy music with bite. Opening track ‘Lady Liberty’ feels like something lately discovered from David Bowie’s Berlin period; it’s feisty and fierce and leaves a great taste in the back of your mouth. Other highlights are track 6, ‘Beat It Eric’ – from the ridiculous title to the song itself – it’s all one vast Syd Barrett homage, and it’s very nice indeed.
Buckle up, transport yourself to the late 60s and early 70s, and take ‘Lumiere’ out for a spin.