Monday, January 26, 2015
Luxury – “The Pearls” from The Latest and the Greatest (1997 Tooth and Nail)


It’s late. The party is nearly over, and a pall of smoke hangs in the air. You’re bleary-eyed, the last bit of a cocktail on the table near you, and you’re thumbing your way through the Lou Reed section of the host’s record collection, and this is the song that comes on in the background.

Kind of weird, for a lot of reasons. First, at the time this song was released, Luxury was a Christian band on a Christian label, so it’s maybe kind of weird to hear them at this party, but then again, you’ve been drinking, so you probably shouldn’t trust your judgment (even now, three fifths of the band are Orthodox Christian priests, so that’s something). Secondly, Luxury was kind of a swoony croony pompadour rock outfit, often utilizing three guitarists at once. They did turn in a number of powerful ballads as well, but “the Pearls” doesn’t really fit in either category, serving instead as kind of a chill-out come-down song at the end of the band’s sophomore record.

But, as chill-out come-down songs go, it’s pretty great. I wouldn’t normally have thought to make a Lou Reed comparison where Luxury is concerned, but there’s a kind of heroin-y droning strumminess that brings him to mind. It’s a nice move; The Latest and the Greatest is a pretty sassy record, overall, with lots of tongue-in-cheek bluster and braggadocio. “The Pearls” serves as a nice counterpoint to that.

Lyrically, geez, I’m kind of stabbing in the dark here. I’ll include the lyrics below and then hopefully say something cogent about them just below that.

Till death do us part
Demons say
But death matters not to you and me
In this terrible ocean
In this terrible sea
We are pearls
We are pearls

Taste the fountain of immortality
Taste the fountain of immortality.

Okay, lots of possible interpretations… Someone is maybe lamenting the institution of marriage? The idea of being yoked to someone until death? But maybe the marriage they’re talking about is the church being married to Christ? Isn’t there some biblical imagery somewhere about how Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride? I’m a bit out of my depth on that one, as, frankly, it’s been a long while. Alternatively, maybe the idea is, sure, the demons say that this is over when we die, but we who have tasted the fountain of immortality know that death is not the end, and as such, in a world of shit, we shine brightly like pearls? That last one seems most likely and makes me seem smartest, so I’ll go with that. It’s pretty romantic, even if it is outside of my current framework.

As a sidenote, I’d offer this: Luxury are a terrific band. In August of 2012 a text exchange about how good Luxury was spawned a short-lived blog some friends and I began about the odd world of nineties Christian alternative music. Ironically, we never got to Luxury, which is a shame. Also a shame is that I never really heard anything of theirs beyond their “Pink Tape” demo (see discography here) and their first two albums. Apparently they’ve been quite active since then, and another friend called their most recent effort “raucous,” which sounds pretty promising to me.

You should probably spend some time and try to figure out how to get ahold of some of their music. Besides, you’re not driving home from the party like that.

As sometimes happens here at the Shuffler due to our increasingly eclectic tastes, we can’t always count on the YouTubes to have videos of everything we’d like to include here. As such, despite our earnest wishes, we are unable to embed any video for you. We regret the limitation. BUT, you can go to Luxury’s bandcamp page, where you can not only listen to “The Pearls” (and a host of other songs of theirs), but you may even be compelled to make a purchase or two. THIS LINK will take you right to the song.