Billy Summer may have stopped making music with The Semis but his current project with Semis bandmates Kyle Lovell (drums) and Jason Schultz (bass) more than makes up for its absence. Luxury Mane formed in 2012 and is already releasing their second LP.
Gold Standard is a well-paced near-impeccable follow-up to last year’s Natural Beauty, finding a trio that has progressed into darker wave shoegaze and psychedelic territories, Summer’s serenades a gentle ethereal drone that varies between resigned breathy sigh, melodic purr or snotty croon. They keep the driving momentum going from the beginning with set opener “Fact or Fiction,” which sets haunting vocal harmonies over layers of fuzzed out and echoing guitars, thick lowend vibrations, and hazy synth atmospherics. “Where Do You Wait?” is the feel good hit of the summer with its bouncy thrust, catchy refrain (“Looking out, looking out, into the bright light / the future now, the future now”), bright basslines and guitar progressions, and overall easy breezy vibe. “No Future” starts out as a straightforward psych rock song, breaks down into a pretty section of rising organ tones and acoustic guitar and devolves into crunched and fuzzed guitars before returning to the original sonic theme. And set closer “So Close” is woozy, oozy, eyes-crossed acid rock filled with bass fuzz, synth weirdness, and guitars doing things guitars shouldn’t do, all warped and faded to match Summer’s blasé vocal delivery. Critics’ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars