La Roux - debut album by La Roux
La Roux **** (out of 5 -> Worth buying/very good)
Before jumping straight to the album itself, I would like to mention some basic facts about La Roux. Behind this name hide two members, Elly Jackson, lead vocalist, and Ben Langmaid, co-writer and co-producer. Wondering about their origin? Well, let me tell you it is Great Britain, to be honest, the homeland of some of the best music artists, and one of the biggest exporters of music in the world--good music, that is. Not to ramble on too much (I am sure readers have other things to do as well), let me now get on with the review itself.
The album opens with “In For The Kill” which was released as the second single--and deservedly, in my opinion. This track foreshadows the style of the album but does not reveal all of its highlights; it just sets the mood and pace. 80s influences, heavy synths and strong basses are what you can await on the album. However, what gives life and lightness to this robotic music are the strangely great vocals of Elly Jackson. Yes, she is definitely not your everyday average look-at-me-am-famous-cause-am-sooo-pretty pop star. Like her hair, her voice also has its own style. This voice is the true light of the album; it makes it work. The second track titled “Tigerlily” is for me one of the stand-out tracks; especially the bridge with male voice brings shimmers. Vocals here are urgent and go great together with lines like “burning with desire for a kiss”. Very good lyrics, indeed. “Quicksand” is the third song, and the first single. It was not that commercially successful when initially released as the first single--very strange a situation for me because this song really has it all. “Am I your possession, am I in demand? Oooh, when you turn to me Iʼm in the quicksand” is one of the best verses saying that although one is not happy in a relationship, the chemistry makes him sink like quicksand. Overall, this song deserves a re-release! The best known and commercially successful single on the album is “Bulletproof”. In my opinion, the best track on the album with its riveting beats, amazing lyrics and (again) flawless vocals. This one just stays in your mind for a very long time. Followed by another great tune “Colourless Colour,” this album keeps its high pace. “Iʼm Not Your Toy” was released after “Bulletproof”. It is a dance tune dealing with a relationship as the name suggests, but somehow it has been overshadowed by “Bulletproof”. The album finally takes a rest with “Cover My Eyes” and “As If By Magic”, the former being a brilliant (and I mean it) ballad with dreamy synths, the latter a mid-tempo above average song. The two following songs “Fascination” and “Reflections Are Protections” are again up-tempo numbers but somehow miss the magic of “Bulletproof” or “Iʼm Not Your Toy”; they are, in a word, average. On the other hand, the last track “Armour Love” is again a standout, such a tender song which really has the power to touch a person’s heart. Amazing.
To conclude this review, I have to say that this is the best 80s sounding album I have heard recently. Its highlights are “Bulletproof”, “Armour Love”, “Tigerlily”, “Cover My Eyes”, and “Quicksand”. Definitely one of the best debut albums of 2009 with perfect cover art.
La Roux - debut album by La Roux
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