How Steve Moore has largely managed to fly under the radar over the past few years is something of a mystery. There’s been the odd bit of positive coverage and a fair amount of online chatter, but his profile still remains remarkably low given his impressive track record. As much of his work has been under pseudonyms, you get the impression he probably likes it that way.
Still, his work remains uniformly excellent. To date, he’s flitted between a myriad of genres, variously turning his hand to atmospheric analogue techno – see “Bayern Kurve” on Kompakt and the brilliant “Zero Point Field” for L.I.E.S. – Tangerine Dream/Chris Carter-ish vintage synth ambience (the excellent Primitive Neural Pathways album for Static Caravan), and John Carpetner/Giallo-inspired horror soundtrack oddness for Permanent Vacation (the latter under the Gianno Rossi alias). He also delivered one of Mindless Boogie’s greatest re-edit releases with 2010’s suitably Balearic “Pino Grigio”, a collection of brilliant reworks of unlikely prog rock, new wave and experimental disco oddities (and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells).
That Mindless Boogie release was credited to Lovelock, an alias Moore has previously used sparingly, usually for tracks with a touchy-feely goodness and lightness of touch that recalls the original spirit of Balearica and cosmic disco. To date, Lovelock material has been sporadic, to say the least, but by and large impressive; check the Pink Floyd-on-gurners cosmic disco escapade “Don’t Turn Away (From My Love)”, the sweet, piano-laden looseness of “Champagne” (part of an excellent split EP on Voltaire) or the Chromeo-championed “Maybe Tonight”, a lovingly tongue-in-cheek tribute to 80s power-pop.
The potential of Moore’s late 2000s Lovelock releases obviously wasn’t lost on Prins Thomas, a man all too familiar with the musical possibilities of all things “Balearic”. Having previously released impressive, decidedly Balearic albums from Windsurf, Triadact and Cage & Aviary, the Norwegian has snapped up Moore’s first Lovelock full-length. It was a wise move. Fitting neatly into the nu-Balearic canon, Burning Feeling casually flits between genres whilst retaining an air of orange-hued sunsets and barely-remembered sunrises. It touches on many of Moore’s recurrent themes – vintage analogue synthesizers, pompous soundtrack Italo, 1970s progressive rock, odd European synth-pop and, of course, cosmic disco – whilst throwing new elements into the melting pot, most notably the sort of poodle-perm sporting 80s power rock that melded heavy guitars with very silly synthesizer grooves (for proof, see the laughably over-the-top “Love Reaction”).
It’s a blend that makes for a heady, intoxicating and at times thrilling full-length. Beginning with the touchy-feely, MDMA-rich power-pop of “Burning Feeling” – a stunningly grandiose opener, it has to be said – Moore moves through shuffling, prog-influenced Balaeric moods (“The Fog” and the still brilliant “Don’t Turn Away (From My Love)”) and Tangerine Dream-ish synth-prog (“South Beach Sunrise”) before turning his attention towards the dancefloor.
It’s at this point that Burning Feeling really hits its stride. First, “New Age of Christ” offers a chiming, melodic take on soundtrack italo – think of the recent Symmetry LP on Italians Do It Better – before “Maybe Tonight” delivers a spiraling blast of comfy, feel-good Balearo-pop. With its darting synth melodies, warm vocal harmonies and earnest guitar solos, it’s the album’s most obviously accessible moment.
The album concludes with two more striking moments; the power-pop-meets-Italo of “Love Reaction” and “Disco District”, a similarly grandiose combination of poodle-perm campery and rush-inducing appregiated synthesizer lines. The latter, in particular, is an excellent example of Moore’s skill as a producer; while outrageously over the top, its core grooves and key melodies are surprisingly cute. While hardly subtle, there’s a lightness of touch that results in a near perfect balance between heady Balearic goodness and eyes-shut rock pomposity. In the wrong hands, this album could easily have turned into a cack-handed, self-indulgent mess, brimming with tongue-in-cheek nonsense. Thanks to Moore’s immaculate composition and production skills, it’s something of a triumph; a genuine Balearic belter. The beards will love it.
1. Burning Feeling
2. The Fog
3. Don´t Turn Away (From My Love)
4. South Beach Sunrise
5. New Age Of Christ
6. Maybe Tonight
7. Love Reaction
8. Deco District