We don't often write about pop music here on Merchants Of Air but this time it's personal. Ludoviq was here a few days ago, sitting in the couch where my cat is now being high on catnip. We listened to his album because Ludoviq suffers from something many musicians do: he wants to hear how his music sounds on a wide variety of speakers. My Magnats proved to be excellent guinea pigs, showcasing the highs, the lows, the warmth and the emotions in these nine fine pop tunes. I was surprised by the sheer quality of Ludoviq's output so a review was definitely in the making.
Although 'The Homecoming' is his first solo album, Ludoviq is no stranger to the stage. He started at a young age, back then in a church choir. He formed the band Société Anonyme at seventeen and became a finalist in 'De Nieuwe Lichting' in 2017, a contest by Studio Brussel. He also performs with Antwerp based vocal group De Grungblavers. All that experience now comes together in a warm, summery frenzy of pop, rock, funk, reggae and soul. See, there is plenty of amazing pop music to be found, not even far away.
The album opens with the reggae ballad 'With You'. This tune breathes the same air as a romantic long walk on a Caribbean beach. It immediately lights up the room, much like Ludoviq's personality does. It's good to start an album with a catchy highlight like this one. Shortly after, 'The Circle' viciously attacks your dancing muscles, again in that warm, disarming nature. My stoned cat gives me a strange look as I shake my behind but I don't mind. This is infectious, funky and groovy. But there's more, 'The Wonderer' brings out the guitars and the good old fashioned rock 'n roll groove.
What strikes me the most, is that a wide array of artists have already passed my mind, from Michael Jackson over The Police and Bob Marley to Talking Heads and Ozzy. Yes, Ozzy. Ludoviq can rock but he mostly loves to see people shake their hips. That versatility will certainly get people interested, or I hope. The one thing that is true about that earlier mentioned "no more good music these days" bullshit is the fact that most people today seem to prefer artificial, autotuned and soulless machine sounds. And that is not something Ludoviq delivers.
Backed by a horde of excellent musicians and vocalists, Ludoviq brings the warm glow of analog instruments to your speakers. Guitars, moog, piano, drums, bass, percussion, horns, nothing is spared and everything seems to be permitted. On 'So Sad' they all weep along, melancholic yet playful. This song shows the strength of Ludoviq vocal performance, just ask my goosebumps. Besides, if I don't hear many people hum parts of 'Manéa Rose Lullaby' next summer, I would be very disappointed. This is the stuff that should be on your radio station, not Lil Wh'Eva.
So anyway. This review is getting pretty long already and there are Brussels sprouts waiting to be cleaned so I'll round it up. This is a very strong album, one that deserves a lot of airplay in the near future. There is something timeless about some of these tunes. This album could have been made in the sixties, seventies or nineties (not the eighties, those were either dark and gothic or synthpoppy and weird) but it's made in this era, as a perfect counterweight to whatever Q-Music will shove down your throat. For decent pop music that can last for a long time, Ludoviq is your man.