L.A.’s De Lux are a post-disco dance-punk DIY duo that sound like they could have come out of 1979 or 1982 just as easily as 2013. Founders and multi-instrumentalists Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco didn’t meet so much as simply appear to each other, sometime before high school ended and after learning to correctly fall off skateboards began. Even at age 18, however, it was the kind of connection that had been years in the making.
Sean had been writing songs since he was 15 and had spent recent years recording and re-recording his own songs. And Isaac had been on a strict diet of classic and obscure disco and boogie music since he too was 15, figuring out the original source of hip-hop’s greatest samples thanks to an older brother with a DJ sideline and an enviable collection. They both were after the same thing in music—the groove, they say, where the bass and the beat align in a perfect way that makes you want a song to go on forever. They were even in a band together, but it wasn’t De Lux. But you can hear the exact moment De Lux became a band when you listen to “Better At Making Time,” the song they built from Isaac’s out-of-nowhere bassline just before practice for that other band was supposed to start: “Sean was like, ‘You should record that!’” says Isaac, “and I was like, ‘What, really?’”
From lead track “Better At Making Time,” De Lux roars through Psychedelic Furs or Duran Duran-style pop (“Love Is A Phase”), delivers shouts and whispers like James Murphy at his most frantic (“Make Space”), sinks into Eno-esque moments of bliss (“On The Day”) and rockets through the agit-funk David Byrne-style rave-up finale “Sometimes Your Friends Are Not Your Friends.” And this is all from the first-take—they never re-record, says Sean. If they don’t perfectly catch that beat as it happens, they let it go. That’s probably why Voyage sounds as wild and alive as it does. Just like on that surprise recording “Better Making Time,” you’re not hearing a band come together. And just like how they met, you’re hearing a band appear.