Space disco is almost always the name of the game with Private Records’ releases, and Rene Riche and Her Cosmic Band’s Love In Space already leans heavy in the name of both the performer and release — to say nothing of the cover art. So, one oughtn’t be too terribly surprised at what comes out of the speakers.
This release is a limited reissue of a 1978 South African disco/synth record, which seems to simultaneously ape styles which were starting to go by the wayside, while also presaging sounds which had yet to break through. It’s an interesting mix, and one which can occasionally be confounding. Ms. Riche’s voice strains at times, and distracts from the excellent musicianship of the backing band, but the earnest attempts are good enough, and readily remedied by the pulsing rhythms, which ably buoy her along.
Back to that past/future dynamic, though: Love In Space reminds me of Thelma Houston’s 1976 disco version of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” in that it’s taking these recently passed, and almost-passe sounds, and blending them with things which are new and fresh. It’s especially noticeable on “Magic Ride,” although I really suspect that has more to do with how Riche knocks out the word “baby,” more than anything else.
At the very beginning of the rather epic title track, there’s just a sense of the synthesizer sounds which would begin to dominate in the early ‘80s, and one can’t help but wonder how much more interesting Love In Space would have been had the band really worked that deeply intriguing sound for more than a few moments here and there. “Galactic Interlude” maybe takes it a bit too far into the realm of avant-garde, but it does show that this is a release which can be more than just passably-enjoyable disco jams.
The highs are remarkably clear and the lows kick pretty well. There’s not a lot in the middle — no big surprise, considering this being disco — but it’s a pretty dynamically toned record.
The jacket is pretty much a direct reproduction of the original, with only the addition of the Private Records logo to indicate it’s not an original. The OG version had a lyrics sheet, as well, although this reissue doesn’t. There’s a download code, however, so I suppose that balances things out pretty well.
There’s a huge poster with the album art. It’s on thinner paper, so be careful with it as you take the LP in and out of the jacket. The poly sleeve in which Private puts most of their releases has a tendency to catch on things as you pull the jacket out and put it back in, which is really a drag, because there’s a good chance you’ll end up tearing something at some point if you’re not careful enough. The OG version had a lyrics sheet, as well, although this reissue doesn’t. There’s a download code, however, so I suppose that balances things out pretty well.
“Love In Space” is available from Private Records.