With the cosmic-disco-drenched Burning Feeling, Steve Moore’s high-gloss Lovelock project conjured one of the most slept-on albums of last decade. Chunky, neon-lit synths and crashing, spacey guitars ride chugging Italo basslines and smooth-yet-shuddering drums to thrilling effect. Finally appearing on vinyl for the first time, 10 years after its original release, the album’s been freshly remastered (overseen by Steve, of course), pressed as a double LP and dressed in some stylish new black and gold artwork. This is the sound of “Big Room Smooth”.
Be With was well aware of Lovelock by way of the rather ace “Don’t Turn Away (From My Love)” from the 2008 compilation Cosmic Balearic Beats on Eskimo Recordings. Yes, we had the 12″, but as shameless vinyl snobs we totally missed the full CD-only album that followed. Whilst working on the vinyl release of his KPM album Analog Sensitivity, Steve brought up Burning Feeling and how disappointed he was that it never had a vinyl release. We got the hint and didn’t need much persuading after finally hearing the whole album.
So where does Lovelock sit on the Steve Moore sonic spectrum? According to Steve “Lovelock is an outlet for me to explore my more pop-oriented ideas, whether it’s disco, lounge, soft rock or whatever I try next. When I started the project in 2006 I was listening to a lot of Italo disco so it felt natural to explore those sounds”. Even the “Lovelock” name itself is a nod to Italian genre film actor Ray Lovelock.
As well as the spacier end of disco, Steve was also listening to Laura Brannigan, Abba/Frida, S.O.S. Band, Alan Parsons and Jan Hammer at the time. These influences shine through. To those who think they detect a hint of irony, Steve’s happy to confirm that “I definitely have a sense of humor, but my love for the styles of music I reference is sincere, and I think that translates to the listener. Lovelock definitely isn’t a joke project, but it is meant to be fun”.
Burning Feeling was written and recorded in Nyack, NY between 2006 and 2008. For the gear-heads, Steve’s arsenal at the time included his trusty Sequential Pro-One and Prophet 600, a Korg Polysix, his Yamaha DX7II FD, a Moog Little Phatt and his Fender Jazz Bass and Strat. He posted the first Lovelock track on MySpace (yep!) in 2007 and the initial reaction was great. A couple of tracks made it onto some compilations and, after a few years of failed negotiations, the album eventually came out on CD in 2012 on Internasjonal, the label run by Prins Thomas and Kai Fraeger (who by genuine coincidence also runs Be With primo distributor Word And Sound). The album got good reviews, mostly in Europe and the UK, but not a whole lot of action in Steve’s native US. This double vinyl release should fix that.
The monumental, MDMA-rich title track opens the album and sets the mood. The fizzing, dramatic synth riff refrain intoxicates, before cavernous slo-mo house drums enter the party to devastating effect. It’s followed by the hypnotic, prog-Balearic mood piece “The Fog”. Dizzying synths never detract from the overall smoothness; this is vital, classy cosmic disco. Flip for the epic, Pink Floyd-on-pingers languid space-funk of “Don’t Turn Away (From My Love)”. A gorgeous bassline, warm keys, pulsing synths and smooth drums, all wrapped around yearning, claustrophobic vocals, it’s simply astonishing. The beautiful, faintly creepy synth-prog of “South Beach Sunrise” closes out the first record, with swathes of lush keys and horns. Nods to Tangerine Dream and that melody has a distinctly Angelo Badalamenti/Twin Peaks vibe.
The second record sets out soaring over a space-age island with the synth nexus that is “New Age Of Christ”, a melodic take on soundtrack Italo. The Chromeo-championed “Maybe Tonight” bubbles up through, swirling into a spiralling blast of sun-kissed, feel-good Balearo-pop. Swarming synth melodies, warm vocals and earnest guitar solos, make it one of the album’s most immediate hits. The mysterious “Barbara” graces the enormous power-pop-meets-Italo jam “Love Reaction” before closer “Deco District” luxuriates in what Matt Anniss described as a “grandiose combination of poodle-perm campery and rush-inducing arpeggiated synthesizer lines”. Who are we to disagree?
Steve worked with Be With’s audio engineering ace Simon Francis to remaster Burning Feeling from the original mixes especially for this double vinyl release. Steve says Simon nailed it “with no muss or fuss”. Steve also commissioned new artwork from designer Kane Banner. The results are a fresh take on the original CD cover that goes even deeper on the 80s serial-killer romance novel vibe. Just right for this killer album.
Digging out those original Burning Feeling mixes got Steve well and truly back in the Lovelock mood. As well as knocking out some lockdown remixes for fun, he’s also been working on new material that definitely deserves a vinyl release of its own.