New Disco super group Stars on 33, aka vocalist Lawrence LT Thompson, Radical Peterson and Kris Menace, have combined musical super powers to bring us their first full length album, ‘This Is Love.’ Heavily influenced by Imagination, Earth Wind & Fire and Chic, ‘This is Love’ is a purist journey for Disco enthusiasts. Oh yes, it’s time to get out your pastel leisure suits, gold medallions and perspex roller skates, this album is the ultimate homage to the seventies most successful sub-culture.
From the outset, ‘This is Love’ features all the quintessential elements of Disco production – a driving four-on-the-floor beat, that familiar ‘tsk tsk’ of the high hat and those soaring orchestral arrangements we’ve come to know as distinctly Disco. Despite the catchy, toe-tappin’ nature of all tracks on the album, the stand out on ‘This Is Love’ is undoubtedly ‘Movin’ On’ which expertly combines an infectious reverberating bass riff with Thompson’s Bee Gee’s inspired, double-tracked vocals. Simplicity is the central feature here, and although ‘Movin’ On’ is one of the least complex tracks production-wise, it is also one of the most effective.
Other tunes of note include the album’s namesake track ‘This Is Love,’ a falsetto-laden delight that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the record. ‘Something I Can Feel’ and ‘This Lady Is Magic’ step up as the compulsory party floor-fillers, reminiscent of a modern daySaturday Night Fever soundtrack for trendy twenty somethings. The only let down on ‘This is Love’ is the partially spoken track ‘LUV’ which brings a slightly cringy ‘Late Eighties Prince’ vibe to an album that is otherwise practically flawless.
Kris Menace and co have set themselves no easy task by trying to ‘produce a pure authentic sounding disco album.’ After all, capturing the essence of the by-gone glory days of Disco whilst remaining relevant has been proven by other artists to be a near impossible feat. So how have they managed to succeed where others have failed? What made The Bee Gees, The Jacksons, The Trammps et al, so successful was that beneath all the sequins, disco balls and light up dancefloors was just really, really well written music. And it’s this type of musical intelligence that is the golden key to Stars On 33’s success.
At the conclusion of this record, the listener is left feeling that these songs have been ‘made with love,’ a symptom of Stars on 33’s classic song writing skill. Nothing demonstrates Star’s On 33’s aptitude better than the stripped back, down-tempo ‘Strangers’, which is a blissful and emotive conclusion to an otherwise dance heavy album. Carefully treading the line between innovation and imitation, Stars on 33 have masterfully managed to create a sound that smacks of both modernity and authenticity.
Featuring a formidable combination of production integrity and just pure feel-good fun, ‘This Is Love’ by Stars on 33 is a 21st century Disco reboot Donna Summer would be proud of. Bravo.
HBF Rating 5/5