'Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury': Film Review
Matt Hinton's documentary chronicles the on-and-off career of an indie rock band, three of whose members have become Eastern Orthodox priests.
There are so many documentaries these days that every band you've ever heard of has become the subject of one. The same is coming true even for bands you (mostly) haven't heard of, such as Luxury, an indie rock band formed in the mid-'90s and hailing from Toccoa, Georgia. Originally composed of Chris Foley (bass), Lee Bozeman (vocals), Jamey Bozeman (guitar) and Glenn Black (drums), Luxury enjoyed some critical acclaim and mild success before a serious vehicular accident derailed its trajectory. The band broke up a few years later and has recently reformed, with three of the original members having become Eastern Orthodox priests in the meantime. It's an interesting story, making one wonder why Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury, isn't a more interesting film.
Directed and written by Matt Hinton, a guitarist who joined the band in 1999, the film chronicles Luxury's short-lived original run and their years-later reunion to record their most recent album, 2015's Trophies. The band, which first called itself The Shroud, had a major asset in the form of Lee, their charismatic frontman and chief songwriter who exuded raw, androgynous sexuality. His song lyrics, which often featured a gay subtext, and his high-pitched voice invited comparisons to Morrissey. Interviewed in the film, their sound engineer describes the band as "The Smiths meet Fugazi."
"We just want to be the biggest band in the world," Lee proclaims in a vintage interview. One of the band's biggest early gigs was performing at a Christian music festival, which led to its being signed by Tooth & Nail, an indie Christian rock label. With Christian pop and rock beginning to have a bigger presence in the industry, the timing was fortuitous. "We had our heads raised high, knowing we had that band," a former publicist for the label comments. The band members were bemused to find their records sold in Christian bookstores, especially given that their songs didn't have overtly religious themes.
The film exhaustively recounts the horrific van accident which resulted in the musicians suffering devastating injuries, including broken necks (miraculously, none of them were paralyzed). We see footage of the band members in their hospital beds, including Lee, who was in critical condition for a while. His good looks were not affected, however, as one of his colleagues points out with a laugh: "Lee made not looking good look good."
The band resumed its career after the musicians recovered from their injuries, but mass appeal eluded them, and they broke up in 1999. Lee and Jamey Bozeman, as well as Chris Foley, became priests, although the documentary disappointingly doesn't delve very deeply into those dramatic midlife changes. It's a problem throughout, with the copious interviews with the musicians not proving very illuminating. Describing their musical reunion after many years, for instance, one of them comments, "It was like riding a bike, picking up where we left off."
While Parallel Love will appeal to the band's longtime fans, and possibly earn them a few new ones, it ultimately has little to offer to the uninitiated and mainly comes across as a sort of promotional video, although its usefulness even in that regard is likely to be limited.
Production: Capstone Entertainment Group
Director-producer-screenwriter-director of photography: Matt Hinton
Executive producers: Brett Morgan, Michael Dunaway, Eric Keith, David Huffman, Scott Lansing
Editors: Matt Hinton, Scott Lansing