the arkive


Luxuria was Howard Devoto (Buzzcocks, Magazine) and Norman Fisher Jones aka Noko. They released two albums on Beggars Banquet – their debut Unanswerable Lust in 1988 and their final album Beast Box in 1990.

Devoto founded two of the best and most influential British bands – Buzzcocks and Magazine – and Luxuria is a fantastic band that flew way too severely under the radar.

Howard founded Buzzcocks along with Pete Shelley, and was the original vocalist, but left the band in 1977. After some time in college, he started Magazine, an influential post-punk band. They disbanded in 1981, and Devoto released a solo album in 1983. After a four year break, he founded Luxuria after being introduced to Noko by Pete Shelley.

The Los Angeles Times did a great job describing their sound in 1988:

Sound: A nasty young man of unsavory interests and a flair for purple prose that brings Baudelaire to mind, Devoto explores various naughty intrigues of the heart that unfold in a fictional universe that combines the perverse formality of an 18th-Century salon with a sordid back alley in London. Howard’s head seems to live in a strange place, which was no doubt shaped by the literature he ingests; references to Proust and Rimbaud crop up on Luxuria’s debut LP, while one particularly beautiful cut titled “Flesh” shimmers with the delirious sensuality of a Paul Bowles story. Singing in a lugubrious voice evocative of John Lydon, Devoto frames his literary rants with the sort of lush arrangements he mastered as front man for Magazine. Luxuria’s music seems fairly conventional given a cursory hearing, but something chilly and vaguely evil lurks behind this velvet curtain of sound. “For me, Luxuria is a land–a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah,” says Devoto in explaining the group, while guitarist Noko describes himself as “someone who lives in sin and artifice with a diamond-encrusted cat and a collection of religious icons.” The glam-rock crowd should eat this stuff up.

  • Luxuria