Without a huge crossover pop hit or abandoning the feather-light synth-pop sound that made them club favorites in the ’80s and early ’90s, Book of Love had taken their career about as far as it could go when they disbanded in 1994. By then, the New York-based quartet had released four albums of luminous, bubblegum dance-floor jams, spent time on the road opening for Depeche Mode, been mocked by joke rockers the Dead Milkmen on “Instant Club Hit,” and had their song “Sunny Day” floating in the background of a scene in The Silence of the Lambs. And seeing that grunge was on the ascendant, they got out of the music business with their dignity intact.
History has been kind to Book of Love. The birth of a new strain of synth-pop has helped connect the band’s best work—like the knock-kneed romance of “I Touch Roses,” the throbbing beauty of “Lullaby,” and the hip-swinging “Hunny Hunny”—to modern artists like Beach House, LCD Soundsystem, and any group that’s released music on the Italians Do It Better label. Seizing on this opportunity, Book of Love’s original members—Ted Ottaviano, Susan Ottaviano (no relation), Jade Lee, and Lauren Roselli Johnson—have been working to cement their heritage with the re-release of their catalog and a smattering of new songs.
To celebrate both the release of a new compilation of their vintage tunes and the 30th anniversary of their second album Lullaby, they’ve been popping up around the country this year, including a stop at the Star Theater on Saturday. Fuck the modern artists trying to breathlessly recapture the sound of the past—go straight to the source.