Today’s POP RESCUE from a loveless future, is the 1985 debut Five Star album Luxury Of Life.
This album saw the five Pearson siblings (Denise, Doris, Lorraine, Delroy, and Stedman) launch themselves as a kind of group alternative to Michael and Janet Jackson. Musically and stylistically, there are many similarities.
The 10-track album is home to a whopping 7 singles on it, so let’s get stuck in…
First up is single Love Take Over, which was mixed by in-demand producer of the time, Paul Hardcastle (who had had a hit with the single 19). This is a great start to an album – strong and up-beat – vocally and musically.
Following this is All Fall Down which, like third track Let Me Be The One, are great little pop songs. They both remind me a fair bit of something that you’d hear from Janet Jackson.
Next up is one of the two best Five Star tracks (in my opinion) – System Addict (the other being Rain Or Shine from their Silk & Steel follow-up album). This is a great song – complete with a brilliant robotic video, and whilst it cries out for a cover version, it’s difficult to imagine where a cover version could take it to – as it’s perfect.
The fifth track was their debut single – Hide And Seek and it’s a perfectly respectable bouncy pop number, that’s a good a place to start as any. This track was co-written by Anne Dudley – now a famous composer and producer, but at the time she was a member of Art Of Noise.
Bouncing in with a fill, R.S.V.P has a great bassline, and a beat and tempo that could probably allow you to mash it up with Madonna‘s Into The Groove with great ease. This track is the perfect up-beat little pop track. ‘I can make you number one, if you to have my love’ they sing. I think that this could have easily been yet another hit single from this album.
Track seven, Now I’m In Control, reminds me a little bit of System Addict. Once again, this is the perfect little pop gem – catchy and up-beat.
Strings open Say Goodbye, a track written by group member Lorraine. It’s a slow, tender ballad, with some delicate vocals, over a piano, cello, and acoustic guitar before a beat joins them.
Penultimate track Crazy is a catchy pop number, with some fantastic high-pitched vocal samples and vocal harmonies.
Final track is Winning, and yes – they are! Its chorus is catchier than its verses, but the bouncy bass, synth, and brass sections keep it bouncing along perfectly.
This is a fantastic album. It is flawless, even now – 29 years after it was released. And for a debut it really set the group up for a successful career. Despite releasing 7 singles from this, they managed to find time to record and release their second album in the following year.
Where are Five Star now?
Five Star went on to release a number of albums until monetary problems and record label tensions forced them to relocate to the US. After a hiatus, they returned to touring in the US and UK, turning up at festivals and holiday parks.
Cherry Red Records recently re-issued this album and others with extra tracks.
POP RESCUE RATING OF LUXURY OF LIFE:
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 5 / 5
- 1985 UK CHART POSITION: #12, certified Platinum
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.53 from an eBay seller