Free Love – Luxury Hits EP (4 stars)

Free Love – Luxury Hits EP

Glaswegian duo offer a concise and thrilling collective statement of artistic intent

It makes sense that Glaswegian duo Free Love might want to get back to releasing as quickly as possible after their semi-enforced name change; they'll be using the suffix 'FKA Happy Meals' for a while yet, even though the collective name with which they were twice-nominated for a Scottish Album of the Year Award has been ditched in a pre-emptive move before a certain fast food chain found out about it. There's one misnomer here, however; they've rather modestly referred to Luxury Hits as an EP, when mini-album might have been more appropriate. The eight tracks here are a concise and thrilling collective statement of artistic intent.

Anyone who has seen the full Free Love/Happy Meals live experience knows they're something special, with Lewis Cook manning the console with a repertoire of crunchy, loud club beats which stride along the line between house and techno. Meanwhile Suzanne Rodden, tethered by an umbilical mic cable, goes on a punkish spacewalk around the audience, singing to lone individuals, climbing speaker stacks, and creating her own ad-hoc stages around the floor. Their show is furious and energetic, yet there's something curiously sophisticated about it too.

It's this latter element – as the title suggests – which reigns on Luxury Hits; these aren't beats made for the dancefloor, but rather lush, electronic adventures which might bear most enjoyment heard in daylight, or perhaps in the small afterparty hours. Rodden's voice is smooth and expressive, its chanson-suited style accentuated by the fact that she often lapses into perfect French, a beautiful touch which elevates the soft reverberations of 'Et Avant' and the jerky, addictive Eurodisco of 'How Do You Feel?'

That last song is probably the most club-friendly here, although there's an indefinable groove to 'Tomorrow Could Be Heaven' which perfectly matches Rodden's sparse, imploring lyrics ('if after all you still meet my eye / I'd love to be the one who can make you cry') and a soulful '80s lustre to 'Synchronicity'. Amid a record filled with memorable songs, the singles 'Playing As Punks' and 'Pushing Too Hard' are the catchiest and most commercial, with hints of Cut Copy, Phoenix or Le Tigre hidden within. It's easy to imagine that this modest, preparatory, but still wonderful EP release is laying the ground for yet more great music in the near future.

Luxury Hits is out now. They play SWG3, Glasgow, Sun 2 Dec; Edinburgh's Hogmanay, Mon 31 Dec.

Free Love

IMP are delighted to welcome back some of our very favourite artists for a wonderful eclectic electronic music event. Sat 3rd November 2018 Tunnels (1) Doors 7pm Curfew 10pm Advance tix £9.50 Free Love (Night School /Optimo) Free Love is the latest manifestation of Scottish duo Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook (FKA Happy…

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