Every spin of Lux is a battle between the reduced and the irreducible. On the one hand, this album is total record-collector rock. If each song doesn’t prompt you to think of another record in your collection, or at least another song — Suicide, Fun House, The Clean’s Compilation, The Days Of Wine and Roses, Evol, “Trem Two,” “Respect Yourself” — then you really need to get yourself a better record collection.
You can reduce this music to influences. Or you can parse the way the Chicago-based quartet has taken these elements and whittled them down to something more streamlined and to the point; they may sound like bands that like to stretch out, but they don’t do much stretching themselves. The record’s 10 songs blow by in just under half an hour, and you’re two-thirds of the way through before they even downshift slower than midtempo. They may suck down serum from badass bottles, but they pour out pop.
And yet Lux holds up listen after listen, standing tall where so many other records that invite the same analysis wilt. While it’s hard to get at exactly what (with apologies to Gertrude Stein) their there is, it’s definitely there. It’s not in the words, which convey more attitude than meaning from behind a wall of reverb. Maybe it’s in the guitars, which are laden with yet more reverb but cut through with such a great smoked-tube tone that I suspect that this isn’t just a record collector band, but a guitar collector band. There’s definitely some of it in the hooks, which do not feel the least bit diminished by their familiarity.
But here I go analyzing again, which misses the point. This record simply is, and what it is is pretty good.