After establishing a sound on their debut Voyage and then establishing an identity with the revelatory Generation, L.A. disco-not-disco duo De Lux took a moment to re-center and come back leaner, sharper, clearer and deeper on their new album More Disco Songs About Love. Now that co-founders Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco know how to play and what to say, they’re ready to just get lost in the music. As the band puts it: “We like to say Voyage was our baby, Generation was our baby all grown up and More Disco Songs About Love thinks growing up sucks and just wants to party smart.”
They started in 2013 with a happy accident called “Better At Making Time,” the lead track of their 2014 debut Voyage and an unexpected practice-space jam session that crystallized a sound, a philosophy and a future direction all at once. In that sudden moment DeLux snapped into focus as an outfit matching post-punk sentiment and the-sociopolitical-is-personal perspective to joyfully indulgent analog synthesizer soundscapes and a deliriously transportive musical joy. And the press was ready to take the ride, with the Guardian calling Voyage “intricate, witty, inventive, dazzling in its detail” and Billboard celebrating its “lush, eclectic dance music.”
On their 2015 sophomore album Generation—a title activating every sense of the word—De Lux added a new almost-documentary aspect to their dance music, delivering clearly personal stories of anxiety and hopeful aspiration from the place where IRL L.A. exhaustion collides with a digital city that never sleeps. (As Guerin sang: “All of these things that they put us through / I’m writing it down / I’m writing it down.”) And they were growing up in other ways, too: 2015 saw their first major festival appearance at Bonnaroo, where they delivered the first of many stand-out big-show performances. Then in 2016, they made a hotly tipped Coachella debut and shared a bill with Arcade Fire at New York City’s Panorama fest. And then at the end of that summer, they started the very first experiments that would lead to their new album.
Like Voyage, More Disco Songs About Love starts with the song that made everything clear: “875 Dollars,” a song (in part) about losing the place you’ve always called home. From there it’s a stream-of-consciousness tour through De Lux’s reality, from the family and friends who helped focus the sound of the album to everyday L.A. experiences, including but not limited to elections, evictions, even porn—although in the context you’d least expect, of course. New York City dance-punk legend Sal P. of Liquid Liquid—who did a De Lux remix on their first-ever release—takes featured vocals on the relentless “Smarter Harder Darker” and the Pop Group’s maniacal Mark Stewart pushes “Stratosphere Girl” into interstellar overdrive. (Plus Guerin’s mother Marie helps out with some very French examination of crepe preferences on “Music Snob,” mutant sibling to Generation’s surreal “Oh Man The Future.”)
And even though the title might seem like some kind of clever reference to something, it’s really just as simple and direct as it seems. The disco is the sound—in the most innovative way, of course—and the love is the sentiment: “‘875’ is love for a house,” they say. “‘These Are Some Of The Things That I Think About’ is love for thought. ‘Keyboards Cause We’re Black and White’ is our love for a friend. ‘Writing Music For Money, To Write More Music’ is love for music—or money. It’s all literal to us but we realize that it might not be for others. We like the idea of giving listeners something to question and wonder about. But there’s love in there.”