Book of Love Reunite and Announce Sire Catalog Reissues
(conqueroo) One of the premiere first wave electronic groups, Book of Love emerged out of the New York City scene in the mid-'80s in the wake of UK synthpop stalwarts Yaz, Erasure and Depeche Mode. Signed to a label deal with Sire Records by the legendary Seymour Stein, art-students-turned-musicians Ted Ottaviano, Susan Ottaviano (oddly no relation), Jade Lee and Lauren Roselli recorded just four albums, but their influence can heard today more powerfully than ever, from the chart-storming dance pop of Ladyhawke and La Rouxto the darker leanings of indie electro darlings Little Boots and Goldfrapp. Yet as these albums — Book of Love, Lullaby, Candy Carol and Lovebubble — are readied for a July 21 reissue on Collectors' Choice Music's Noble Rot label, the reunited bandmates are preparing their first tour since 2001.
The reissues were annotated by Michael Paoletta, former editor and dance music columnist at Billboard magazine, who observed: "Memorable melodies and provocative lyrics reigned supreme. Book of Love's songs were cathartic, ebullient and life-affirming: solemn celebrations if you will."
Between 1986 and 1993, the band delivered 12 singles culled from the four studio albums about to be reissued. Songwriting duties were handled primarily by Susan and Ted though Lauren contributed more to this process on Candy Carol and Lovebubble, while Jade's writing chops were showcased on the first and final albums.
• Book of Love: Book of Love's 1986 eponymous debut album contained the hits "Boy," "Book of Love," "I Touch the Roses" and "Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes)," all chart-topping Billboard dance hits. The album got them on the road with Depeche Mode twice at the height of that group's popularity. Seymour Stein signed the band to Sire Records upon hearing the demo of the song "Boy," which joins ten other demo tracks on a bonus album, making the Book of Love reissue a 2-CD set. Other bonus tracks include rare demos "I Touch Roses (Daniel Miller Mix)," "Boy (Dub Version)" and "Modigliani (Instrumental Version)."
• Lullaby: This 1988 release became the band's highest-charting album, thanks in large part to the two killer cuts that lead off the record. The first was a beat-fortified remake of Mike Oldfield's classic "Tubular Bells (Theme From The Exorcist)" and "Pretty Boys, Pretty Girls," which was quite possibly the first song about AIDS ever to hit the charts. The deluxe reissue includes the bonus extended mix of "Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls," "Tubular Bells/Pretty Boys Pretty Girls" (Regan's house medley), "Lullaby (Pleasant Dream Mix)," "Witchcraft (Extended Mix)" and "Enchantra." The album spent nine weeks on the Billboard 200 albums chart, peaking at 156 and crossing over from club dance floors to adventurous pop radio stations.
• Candy Carol: Highlighted by the tracks "Alice Everyday," "Counting the Rosaries" and "Sunny Day" (which was featured in the film The Silence of the Lambs), this 1991 album shifted into a more psychedelic direction and was rewarded with another Billboard album chart entry; the single "Alice Everyday" missed Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart by one point. "We were working on Candy Carol when Jonathan Demme was working on Silence," says Lauren, "I played him a rough mix and he felt he could use it in the film." Bonus tracks include the "Everyday Glo Mix" and the "Sam the Butcher Mix" of "Alice Everyday," plus the single remix of "Sunny Day" and the "Happiness and Love Mix" of "Counting the Rosaries."
• Lovebubble: Book of Love's final album in 1993 shows the members moving in different directions, making it an interesting, eclectic listen, full of cognitive dissonance. Included are "Boy Pop" ("Swinging Boy Bop Mix"), "Hunny Hunny (the band's ABBA tribute in its "Sweet and Sticky MixPop Mix") plus "Chatterbox" ("The Late Nite Chat Mix"). Lovebubble was the only Book of Love to feature vocal work by all four members. According to annotator Paoletta, the band "could decide to move creatively forward or back. So they went both ways." "We were cordial while making Lovebubbble but the camaraderie was gone," says Ted. "You can't make magic with four cordial people."
The group's last proper tour was in 2001, in support of Candy Carol. If all goes according to plan, Book of Love will take to the road in the coming months including a hometown New York show.
"In the meantime," writes Paoletta, "we will, collectively, continue to touch roses."
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