Album Review: La Roux – La Roux

By on Wednesday, 1st July 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

La Roux (album cover)It seems that this 2009 has brought along with it a stylish new wave of British female singers. Following on from our Lilys, Amys and Adeles, we have our Florences, Marinas and, er, Little Boots-es. Elly Jackson, aka, most prominent half of electro-duo La Roux, perhaps shares the most in common with the latter lady. Both Jackson and Little Boots are the current female forerunners in the 80s-revival, electro-pop revolution. However, while Miss. Boots prefers to go for the sunnier side of the synth, La Roux’s edgier debut is proof that these two artists are in fact miles apart. Released Monday (29th June), La Roux’s self-titled album has so far been dividing fans and critics alike. Unsurprisingly, TGTF were eager to have a listen after we were passed the record earlier this week.

Kicking off with ‘In For the Kill’, the success of this song chart-wise is sufficient proof of it’s instant likeability factor. Bopping, retro-synths and a drum beat spikier than Elly’s hair style, this song is stupidly addictive. Similarly catchy tunes include the ping-pong synths of current single, ‘Bulletproof’. “Been there, done that, messed around. I’m having fun, don’t put me down. I’ll never let you sweep me off my feet!”, Jackson spits with a tinny attitude before leading us into the addictive chorus-hook of “This time baby, I’ll be, bulletproof.”. Elly’s vocals, meanwhile, are robotically velvet amid ‘Quicksand’ – a dry, sticky number with an awesome bubbly-synth pop chorus.

The transition from spat, aggressive verses to smooth vocals amid uber-frantic ‘Tigerlily’ is awesome – yet the song is perhaps too overwhelmed by crazy electro beats and harsh drum machines. Meanwhile, the Gameboy synths and miss mashed, shrill vocals of ‘Fascination’ are not exactly easy on the ears. If anything, the song ultimately becomes rather irritable to listen to. ‘I’m Not Your Toy’ is similarly over-synthed and over-shrilled, and is one of the least memorable tracks on the record.

‘Armour Love’, ‘As if by Magic’ and ‘Cover My Eyes’, however, are proof that when the tempo and simplicity of the record is brought down a little – Jackson can become a genuine pleasure to listen to. ‘Armour Love’ sees Elly calmly coat the trippy synths and slowly pulsating drumbeat with her velvety vocals, while the electro-psychedelic ‘As if by Magic’s’ only flaw is the “oooh oh oh oh” screeches Miss. Roux is noticeably fond of using throughout the record. Meanwhile, tear-jerker, ‘Cover My Eyes’, is perhaps one of the album highlights. Considering the track’s touching lyrics(“So would you hold me please? I’m trying hard to breath. Stop me from crying.”), it’s unsurprising to learn Jackson broke down in tears amid recording. Add to that the warming harmonies as provided by London Community Gospel Choir, and this particular track really becomes quite outstandingly heart-warming amid the overly-robotic material of the rest of the album.

So, judging by their opinion-splitting debut, it’s not unsurprising that La Roux continue to recieve such a mixed-bag reception. Some love the duo’s revival of edgy synth-pop, while others find the band’s super-cool electro, well, just plain annoying. Still, either way, there has been an undeniable amount of buzz surrounding Miss. Jackson these past few weeks, and I’m glad to say that ‘La Roux’ just about justifies the hype.

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[…] were floods and rivers of tears pro­duced during its record­ing because music journ­al­ists love to make a point of it (although I sup­pose I’m just as bad now). In fact the only thing […]

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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