HUSH - THE LIMOUSINES

by Erin Foy Vian

As a modern day music lover, who craves both new and old on a daily basis, music to me is a necessary passion. It enhances every emotion and can help you tap into places in your heart and mind that nothing else can. And there is no better outlet to mend the mind. Having recently gone through a breakup of a long relationship, I created a healing playlist on Spotify, complete with all seven stages of grieving. I figured it was a better option than vodka, so I went with it.

It was through this process that I discovered The Limousines. The first song on their latest release, “Love is a Dog from Hell” immediately had me intrigued. This had promise to fit into the anger stage of the playlist. Then I listened. Wow, it was like someone shot a Delorean back to the 80’s and grabbed Wham!, The Thompson Twins, Yaz, and OMD, put them together in a giant bowl, layered in some modern synth beats, sprinkled in a little EMO, and came out with a really good indie/electronic shoe gazer of a record.

I have always held a special place in my heart for 80’s synth pop with sugary sweet lyrics that make me think about love, falling into it, being in it, and suffering because of it. This is the theme of the sophomore record, Hush.

The band is made up of Eric Victorino, the vocalist, and Giovanni Giusti, who handles all instrumentation, a virtual one man band, complete with synthesizer.

Based in the SF Bay area, the duo took the Silicon Valley approach to making this album via a Kickstarter campaign to fund a self-release. Having come off a very popular album, Get Sharp in 2010 (on Dangerbird), they had strong success in raising funds.

The two breakout tracks on Get Sharp, "Internet Killed the Video Star" and "Very Busy People", are hilarious testaments of our times: we’re hooked on social media, gaming, streaming, You Tube and other mental masturbations that make us feel connected, yet less so.

So needless to say, the love theme and darker tone of Hush came as a surprise to many fans. So while I may not be laughing my fucking ass off, I welcome this piece of work. Music and writing are expressions of life experiences, and this album is a window into Victorino and Giusti’s ability to go deep, show vulnerability, heartbreak, and fear.

Notable tracks include, "Love is a Dog from Hell", which waxes philosophic on the power of falling in love and how nothing else seems to matter and as exciting as that feels; it’s also as scary as hell. Who hasn’t felt that? And then it just continues - "Bedbugs" is a heavy song about the weight of breaking up, the hopeless feeling of what to do when it’s time to let go, and the lies we tell to save ourselves from the pain.

"Haunted", complete with an essence of steel drums and heavy beat sequences, shares the feeling of missing someone, the clarity, feelings that haunt you when you lose someone you love. "The Last Dance" has an atmospheric, enigmatic-esque vibe to it. To me, this song is about embracing a failure and not being able to admit it, even if the wedding dress goes out the window, time goes by and temptations come in. Sometimes, you have to face failure because that is part of life. No one else can tell you when it’s time to have that last dance, sometimes it’s just time. And that’s where the innovative beats lend a great complement to this record. Love, like music, doesn’t have rules, and the most powerful connections are made when there is an openness to bend the rules.

As deep as it can be, there are moments when Hush wades in the shallow end a bit more than I’d like, partly because of Victorino’s lack of full vocal range and somewhat formulaic beat sequences by Giovanni. That said, the music has heart and still makes me want to dance, even if I may be looking down at my shoes. I usually have fab shoes on.

Erin Foy Vian works in publishing in Los Angeles. She has been listening to a lot of David Bowie lately too.