on 11 October 2011
Actually Amazon's description pretty much sums it all up (although sometimes it would be good to comment on some of those reviews, particular when they contain inaccuracies eh Mr Amazon?).
Luxuria were Magazine legend Howard Devoto and multi-instrumentalist Noko. This is a collection of Luxuria's two albums (Unanswerable Lust & Beast Box) with added b-sides and a third disk containing a live recording of the 1988 Leicester Polytechnic concert.
It took me ages to get another copy of each of these on CD after losing them in the 90s (definately a bit careless) and I paid over the odds to get them back. Even so, this is still an essential purchase as the extras make it worth the very reasonable price.
Musically, it's not the same as Magazine - and nor should we expect it to be as I'm sure they wanted something different - but the voice of Howard still rides high above some great musical work from Noko. Unfortunately nobody really noticed and Howard disappeared for quite some time (loved the work with Mansun - but then only Buzzkunst to fill the gap).
When Magazine reformed in 2009, it was Noko who took on the guitar part very commendably. Hopefully Magazine fans who didn't buy the Luxuria albums at the time will now indulge in this great package.
on 29 October 2011
I listen to a lot of music, and a variety of styles. I usually buy most of it as it gets released, and when it's a limited item, pre-order. But with Howard Devoto, and everything he has done - I just missed the boat completely. I only listened to magazine for the first time about 4 years ago although I heard reference to it from various sources. I had "the light pours out of me" covered by Peter Murphy on his debut solo album but just didn't go and do the research. I knew Barry Adamson from the Bad Seeds, and John McGeoch from Siouxsie, and even Dave Formula from his work with Visage. So one day I listened to Real Life, and as they say, the rest is history. From there I listened to Howard's solo offering as well as his album with Pete Shelley and in my mind it was all good.
So when I heard that Cherry Red were releasing an album set with said Devoto and some other character, ala Noko in a band called Luxuria I knew it would be a definite purchase. So here I am listening to something I could have been listening to in 1988! The plus side is that I still have the joy of discovering this, so all is not lost.
Unanswerable Lust is quite a poppy album, but still features strong guitars, intelligent lyrics and a host of different instruments and keyboards played by Mr Fisher-Jones. Noko is certainly a talented individual. It's not Magazine, but there are certainly elements of it. I find it a polished collection of songs, both well written lyrically and musically. From the opening track Redneck, I was hooked and the rest of the album does not disappoint. There are half a dozen extra tracks which include some mixes and live tracks. The Wilderness mix of Luxuria is sublime.
I find the second album - Beast Box, more varied. A lot of different styles in here, ... but together they all seem to work. Again some extra tracks, mostly 7" single edits. There is a 12" single edit of "the beast box is dreaming", which makes me wonder if there was a full 12" version. But with the 3 versions of this track on the 2nd disc, perhaps we have enough? But being a completist like me, can you ever have enough?
The 3rd disc is a live version from 1988 in Leicester. The sound quality is pretty good, I've certainly heard worse. They pretty much play Unanswerable Lust live which is great. There are also 3 Magazine tracks, and one of them is Parade, one of my favourite Magazine tracks. If this was 18 months later they could have added Beatbox material... but hey, who am I to talk about timing....
The five stars will tell you I am glad I bought this. All I can say is: Don't wait 20 years to discover this gem... especially if you already know Magazine. Yes it's a habit for me... I wonder what I'll discover tomorrow? Can't wait....
on 12 October 2011
As the previous reviewer has remarked, this is an invaluable release of otherwise OOP or previously unreleased material. Obviously, the most important thing by far is the actual music and Cherry Red are to be congratulated for bringing it back here and in their numerous other re-releases from past decades, several of which I have purchased.
My only quibble with this one is the unimpressive and indeed amateur-ish package design, which throws together pre-existing graphic and visual elements without any real attempt at synthesis or integrity, much less beauty. As you'll see when you fold out the package, a couple of those elements are repeated for no apparent reason other than to fill space, a ploy which in itself always looks shoddy. I'm just saying that the original album design deserves better than that.
If you have copies of the original release of either or both of the two Luxuria albums and value the package design then perhaps you might want hang on to them for that reason alone.