CD Review: NLX – Luxury of Failure

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I wouldn’t have called her “Trent Reznor with tits,” but the description piqued my interest enough to listen NLX’s “Burn,” the single off Luxury of Failure, the songwriter’s fourth album.

“Burn” includes the elements that draw me to music: the song is dynamic in its structure and still uses simple melodies that give the lyrics room to breathe. When a single piano chord gives way to heavy drums and lyrics, I get hooked.

Part of a musician’s emotional appeal comes not only from the words themselves but also from his or her presentation. I buy it when I hear NLX sing about giving all the love she could “and the rest can burn as far as I’m concerned.”

Describing why music catches a listener is always a personal experience. When I sat down to listen to Luxury of Failure from its beginning, “Lullaby” lured me with its electronic crescendo broken by staccato notes and dark chords in place of a rhythm section.

“You saved my life” sung over increasingly building tension. Immediately, my mind works to decipher the words. Was she saying “you saved my life if only I gave you up”? I’m still not sure. The feeling reminds me of listening to the first albums of my youth, digging out the liner notes and desperately trying to uncover meaning in the poetry of lyrics.

“I’ll get up again,” NLX sings. And the line, repeated over a snare drum roll and echoing keyboard chords, connects.

By the second track, “Put it to Bed,” I knew I’d found an artist I could get into. The vocal and piano driven music recalls early Tori Amos, but the electronic elements yearn toward darker influence. I still won’t give her “Reznor tits,” but I can see why NLX used the description. Like me, NLX likely gripped the world with Nine Inch Nails and found a voice in Reznor’s melodies.

My favorite song off Luxury of Failure is “Flatlight” (see below for a teaser). I say this is because of the theme: “It’s hard to forget what you miss….”

Personally, I’m at an age where I am thrilled at my accomplishments and proud of my life. My family brings me happiness and peace, but I remember those I once missed.

“You were a lifetime ago,” NLX sings. The words and the music hit me like guilt. “And I hold your memory close; take it away from me.”

Now, I won’t pretend to know what NLX — Natasha to her friends — is thinking when she sings these words. Maybe she misses her ex. Maybe she’s happy where she is, but the beauty in sadness makes for better music. “We all have reasons to run backwards.”

When most people look for new music, they seek something that connects with them both emotionally and rhythmically. Anyone seeking soulful songs and lamenting lyrics should enjoy NLX. The melodies are soft enough to get lost swaying along or digging deeper into the meanings and metaphors.

Check out NLX by ordering Luxury of Failure Nov. 13.

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