‘Luxury Hits’ is the debut EP by Glasgow duo Suzi Rodden and Lewis Cook under the moniker Free Love. The electro duo had previously been releasing music under the moniker Happy Meals, but opted to change to Free Love after McDonald’s sent lawyers after other bands with names related to the fast food chain.
Thankfully, Free Love are much more luxurious and filling than a beef burger. The Scottish synth duo mix vintage and modern machinery together. In fact, duality is a recurring theme throughout the duo’s work, from the dual meaning of words to utilising two languages (French and English), to integrating old and new machinery across their duel exploration of Euro-leaning electro and house music.
The swell of the sea ushers in the EP’s appetiser, Et Avant, before Tomorrow Could Be Heaven offers the first real kick of what Free Love have to offer, with dreamy mid-paced butterfly synths dancing around Suzi Rodden’s hushed ephemeral vocals as the track gradually builds to a crescendo.
Single Synchronicity delivers the EP’s first standout moment with a solid slice of euro disco, while the bilingual How Do You Feel Today has a distinctly Human League feel to it. Indeed, the Steel City synth legends’ presence can be felt upon many of the EP’s tracks, including highlight Playing As Punks where the couple duet over an ’80s synthpop ballad backdrop. The key to the success of such tracks is that it always feels like Free Love are paying homage to, rather than robbing, the graves of their influences.
The smooth bass groove and wind instrumentation of Depeche Toi (which translates to Hurry Up) create space for Rodden’s alluring vocal to shine, but the most successful use of French comes on Pushing Too Hard where Rodden darts from language to language creating an engrossing atmosphere. The chorus of “You’re pushing too hard for the love that you seek/ But don’t look at me, I’m just as weak/ And I’m not the one to help you/ Although I’d like to try” is prime earworm material, on what is perhaps the most complete track on the EP.
Free Love’s ‘Luxury Hits’ may not be commercially successful, but if their aim was to create a welcoming cocoon that transports the listener out of the darkness of modern times it been more than successful.