Populuxe: Modern art-pop trio's latest album 'Lumiere' contains David Bowie-inspired dynamite performances


Populuxe is a modern art-pop band comprised of Mike, Mark and Rob, who formed the group around 1995 in Brooklyn, NY.  The trio has been making music ever since, staging out of this world performances resplendent of garage rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s era classic rock. 

According to Wikipedia, the term “Populuxe” was coined for the consumer culture and aesthetic in the United States during the 1950’s and 1960’s.  The word is a combination of the words popular and luxury.

With a moniker such as theirs, it is only apt that the band is always on the cusp of reinvention.  This time around, they are opening eyes with such melodic driven David Bowie-inspired tunes that evoke the seriousness in play, the immediacy in emotion, and the avant-garde in the art world.

The group hold a no holds barred approach to music-making and their process is oozing with a wild and untamed energy.

Their latest album, Lumiere, glows with this fervent synergy and is a testament to Populuxe’s experimental artsy sound.

Lumiere opens up to “Lady Liberty” that flairs with fizzy guitars reverberating in the background.   Hollowed out vocals dramatically conjure up Bowie with its fuzzy glitch-y glamour.  What progresses is a luxurious rock cadence.  An upbeat drumline pivots on energetic percussions and bouncy rhythms as an epic guitar solo scale the length of this track.  The guitar riffs are melodic and echo-y and the song blares with a steady sonic array of energy and light, creating a contrast of chaos.  The layers of melodies is perfused with an untamed and wild energy.

“Garage Sales” start off terrifically with some stirring melodies.  The harmonious combined vocals elicits a jolt of discord as the vocals and music join together in 3 minutes of dissonance.  This track recalls the sounds of the Beatles.  A dreamy, catchy, and deeply haunting playful song.

“Schoolyard” is an acoustic ballad that starts off simply with the acoustic guitar accompanying the combined vocal harmonies.  The track hums with a sense of calm and contemplativeness as the sound is very centered and balanced.  There is a dynamic sense to the ballad.  The song sparks with uniqueness.  Exciting strumming from the acoustic guitar is executed with deft finger work.  Upbeat percussions bounces in the background, evoking an energized layer.

On “How Long’s It Gonna Take?” some horns quietly blare towards the beginning of this outrageously energetic track.  The song is frighteningly catchy and upbeat that pervades with an ominous theme.  Some exquisite guitar riffs pave this track.  The song is filled with attitude with the horns giving this track a jazzy flair.  This song sizzles with jazzy layers and some bustling blues.  The line, “How long’s it gonna take for the well to run dry,” runs repeatedly throughout the track, giving an anguished end of the world feel.  Adamant that the apocalypse is nearing, the band feeds into the frenzy by saying the line with a more salty feel as the track continues on for a good 8 minutes.

Stealthy basslines run amok on the song, “Behind Enemy Lines,” creating a pulsing rhythm.  This is a moody and ominous sounding track with a deep-treading cadence.  There is definitely a dark feel to it, pervading with a gritty indie rock flavor.  Reams of guitars project a wall of sound.  A radioactive rock vibe sounds off with some anguished and dark vibes.  The spiraling guitars create an aerial cadence.

“Beat It, Eric” is a moody aspiring track that reverberates with some metal-tinged vibes.  With some dark undertones, the vocals are fuzzed out and the music gives a glitched-out approach exploring the dark tumultuous layers of electric guitars, bass, drums and percussions.

On “Blackout,” an exquisite piano melody sounds off.  It alone accompanies the vocals toward the beginning.  The song has a retro ‘50s lounge feel with vocals that are all parts melodious as they are contagious.  A catchy piano tune sprawls out into a pulsing drumline.  With a timeless flow, an epic guitar solo ignites mid-way into this track.  The song soars with greatness and sublime-ness.  A riveting sound that will make believers out of all of us.

“Who’s Laughing Now” begins with dramatic and exciting percussions that pave off the start of this track.  Reverberating vocals are enmeshed on this heavily addicting song.  A rapid drumline makes this track exhilarating.  A dark and gritty cadence immediately bleeds in.

Populuxe’s Lumiere is a smashing record filled with a subliminal sound inspired by the retro energy of David Bowie circa ‘70s. 

With enough talent ready to combust, the trio hones a sound that is very centered.

This is a surprising and startling record that sparks with uniqueness.  Some great tuneage is fully elicited on this tantalizing album.

Lumiere is lit by glowing and luminous songs that also has a dark side.  While the later half of the album evokes a metal-tinged sound, for the most part the tracks are lush and filled with the glitch and glitter of a world post Bowie.

The oftentimes disparaging cadence ruminates a retro ‘70s era sound with its extravagant melodic guitar riffs and out of this world radioactive basslines and dramatic drumming that you will want to put on repeat. 

The songs on this Lumiere create a catalytic release, a rush of sonic arrays of melody-driven guitars and decadent vocals that give off the glamor and glitch of Bowie and Pink Floyd-inspired performances.  Even the darker songs are melodic, exuding a poetic-ness that evens out the bleaker-framed madness.

Rich and unrelenting, Populuxe are a force to be reckoned with. 

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My Nguyen

My Nguyen is an album reviewer from San Diego, CA. She regularly contributes to TheCelebrityCafe.com. Her work has appeared in the following journals: Quietpoly, Community Voices, Espresso 1, The Whistling Fire, The Pedestal Magazine, The Straylight Magazine, Baby Lawn Literature, and Conceit Magazine.

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