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July 28, 2014 | by  | in Arts Music |
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La Roux – Trouble In Paradise [Review]

It’s been half a decade since La Roux’s spiky self-titled debut, and ‘Bulletproof’ is still stuck in my head, that Skream remix of ‘In For The Kill’ is still scoring film trailers, and ‘I’m Not Your Toy’ is still the banger it was when I couldn’t buy alcohol. Yes, the sign that I’m talking about their first album this much does not bode well – five years is an era in pop music.

La Roux, once a duo, is now just singer Elly Jackson, although once-partner Ben Langmaid is still credited on several of the songs. Given Jackson’s roar of a vocal range, this didn’t seem like the hugest issue in the world at first, but his absence is palpable. This is, ugh, this is a ‘groovy’ record, much like Daft Punk’s latest, full of jangles and cute little piano lines. Yes, saccharine synth-pop is a little played out, but the La Roux of 2009 was menacing; this is, well, pleasant.

There are hooks, and they are catchy. Jackson is an excellent singer, and while her lyrics feel a little lacking at points, it’s hard to tire of someone this good. Opener ‘Uptown, Downtown’ shows her singing off, then ‘Kiss and Not Tell’ reminds you how fun pop can be. After a few ballady songs comes ‘Sexotheque’, which feels a lot longer than 4:19. ‘Tropical Chancer’ is a standout, although “I met him through a dancer/ Didn’t know he was a tropical chancer” sounds like something you make up when desperately trying to rhyme in a drinking game. Seven-minute ‘Silent Partner’ seems directly pointed at her ex-bandmate, and is really quite good, then closer ‘Let Me Down Gently’ does exactly that.

This never feels like a bad album, not at all, just one you forget you are listening to.

3/5 stars

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