The LA duo of Loren Luck and April Love, AKA LUCKYandLOVE, are releasing their debut LP, Lucky+Love on SRD Music on June 30th. I’m hard pressed to believe that this is the duo’s first album. The quality here in no way betrays the fact that it’s their first foray into full length album territory. In fact, this stands up there with the best work of similar acts like Ladytron (or Marnie’s solo work) and the Chromatics. What separates LUCKYandLOVE from the rest of the pack is two-fold…undeniably catchy synth work and austere vocals that still manage to have a swagger (easier said than done). How good is this album? Let’s dig in!
Sexy welcomes listeners to the record, and what an introduction! Luck’s warm, organic synths and sparse but perfectly effective percussion sets the tone immediately. Once Love’s vocals hit the track you know you’re not listening to your run-of-the-mill nostalgia seeking outfit. There’s respect being paid to the pioneers of the electronic art form, but LUCKYandLOVE are their own force to be reckoned with. Venus flows right out of this heavy hitting lead off track and keeps the tempo upbeat and strong. There’s a depth to this track musically…a depth that’s often missing from synth based acts. This isn’t just catchy on the surface (and let me tell you, it’s got a hook that still has me in its grip), it’s so well produced that each playthrough grants the listener the opportunity to find something new that they’d not noticed before. Add Love’s glitched out vocals over the top and you’ve got one amazing song. Mars is a more delicate track than the previous too, with ethereal vocals and synth work that accompany the trip through the atmosphere. The backbeat is a star attraction as it imposes its will at different times to give the album a continued danceworthy feel. You’ll Never Know continues the trip through the ether. Love owns this track…her vocals bouncing from the highest of highs to exploring the depths. Luck’s synths are the perfect companion throughout the entire track, never taking over, but instead acting as a pedestal to lift up some of the best vocals I’ve heard so far this year.
Now that we’ve reached the halfway point, Digging in the Earth really gets things moving. The single-worthy track is an instant body mover…in fact I dare you to sit still while you listen. Not possible. Again, this is a debut album? I’m not sure how long LUCKYandLOVE have been together but this is obviously a well oiled machine that is honed to pure pop precision. Legal Love and its majestic echoing vocals and pitch perfect synthesizers are an album highlight for me because it is the perfect bridge of old and new. It has all the trappings of a song from 1986 but it pulls itself forward through time and sounds completely modern at the same time. I cover countless acts trying to do this exact thing on a daily basis and the list of bands that can pull it off is very small. Taureon brings the heat almost immediately. Depth charge deep bass balances Love’s vocals to a T and the dynamic shows how well she and Luck work together. I’m sitting here listening to this and I wonder how the two sat down and decided on singles for the record. Pretty much every song is worthy of the distinction, including this one. Full Moon is our album closer here, and I’m sad to see it end…It’s been such an amazing and immersive ride! Echoing percussion and echoing vocals paired with layers upon layers of sounds send the album off in grand style.
To say that I was impressed with this album would be an understatement. LUCKYandLOVE are synthpop done right…a nod to the past with a wink toward the future. The duo obviously know the strengths and weaknesses of each other and use their talents to create a near perfect blend of pop music. I can’t recommend them any higher than I have so far. Their debut album, Lucky+Love, hits June 30th and I can’t think of a single reason why you shouldn’t own it once is comes out.
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