Review Summary: For the third time in a row this LA dream pop band release another fine album.
When most music critics talk about bands who manage to consistently put out one great album after another certain names seem to pop up a lot. For example, both Spoon and the National seem to be a few of the artists whose names are always mentioned. Well I would like to add another group to the club and that is the dream pop band The Luxembourg Signal. They just released their third album entitled The Long Now and it’s another great one from them.
For those who may not be familiar with them, a little background is probably in order. The group was started by Beth Arzy, Brian Espinosa and Johnny Joyner who were members of the band Aberdeen the only American band to be signed to the legendary Sarah Records. Aberdeen put out only two singles on Sarah and another one on another great indie pop label, Sunday Records. After Sarah folded the band broke up briefly but returned in the early 2000s releasing their sole full length the excellent Homesick and Happy to be Here in 2002. Eventually the band dissolved with some members going on to playing with such groups as Fonda and the Trembling Blue Stars, while lead singer Beth Arzy moved from the States to the UK. Flash forward to about 2012 and we find the three original Aberdeen alumni deciding to make music again recruiting a few more members in the form of vocalist Betsy Moyer, bassist Daniel Kumiega and keyboardist Ginny Pritchard and from there The Luxembourg Signal were born.
They put out their self-titled debut in 2014 and their second album, The Blue Field in 2017. Both records featured songs that were filled with dreamy vocals, lush instrumentation and catchy melodies. Another thing that makes the Luxembourg Signal so special is that the band plays like a well-oiled machine with each member contributing to the band’s sound. If I had to pick the one song of theirs that best illustrates this it would be “Laura Palmer” from the Blue Field. That album’s first single it has everything that makes this band great, from Ginny Pritchard’s dark shimmering keyboards to the steady drumming of Brian Espinosa. Top it all off with the dreamy guitars of both Kelly Davis and Johnny Joyner, the steady bass of Daniel Kumiega and the ethereal vocals of Beth Arzy and Betsy Moyer and you get a clear example of how well this band comes together to create some of the best dream pop around.
Which finally brings us to their newest record. Named after an expression coined by Brian Eno, The Long Now is another fine album from these guys. Consisting of tracks that veer between upbeat indie pop and synth driven ballads, this is the group’s best album to date. Having listened to this for the last month or so I can’t find one number on here that I could characterize as filler. Right from the start with the ethereal opener “I Never Want to Leave” the album immediately takes off and never let’s go until the final song. From there we get one good song after another like “The Morning After” which is one of the album’s best ballads with its shimmering guitars, spacy synths, dreamy vocals and catchy “Here comes the morning after” vocal hook. Following that is the album’s first single the soaring “2:22. Lasting for exactly two minutes and twenty-two seconds it starts with a rush of soaring guitars and punchy drums before Beth’ Arzy’s vocals enters the picture at about a minute. From there on it slows down a bit only to pick up again with Beth’s voice soaring above the drums and guitars making it a future indie pop classic “Take it Back” is a kinetic slice of indie pop, while “Lost Hearts” is all dreamy with its glistening synths and beautifully warm vocals of Betsy Moyer. Then there is the cinematic feel of “Mourning Moon” where Betsy and Beth engage in call and response over a bed of eerie sounding synths. On previous Luxembourg Signal records, the band were joined by some their former bandmates, like the Trembling Blue Stars Bobby Wratten who contributed vocals on The Blue Fields song “Fall Feeling”, to help out. On the Long Now they continue that tradition this time getting help from former Fonda member David Klotz. On “Cut the Bridle” which is a catchy indie pop number he joins singers Beth and Betsy on lead vocals, while providing some eerie sounding keyboards on the hazy “Elevator Silence”. Next is the effervescent “Ramblin’ Rodriguez” where Beth’s vocals are at their catchiest over a sparkling melody. Finally, the album closes with the cinematic “When All We Hold Decays” where Beth and Betsy share dual lead vocals over a bed of driving guitars and gradually building synths.
I know that this review may be a little long but this is one of those rare albums where every track is worth mentioning. When all is said and done with The Long Now the Luxembourg Signal have delivered three fine albums in a row. If they continue this way, they could very well join the list of bands who are known to put consistently great music.