CLUAS Album Reviews

La Roux 'La Roux'

Nov 22

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Sunday, November 22, 2009  RssIcon

A review of La Roux's debut album

La Roux, cover of debut albumReview Snapshot: Electro-pop duo La Roux’s debut album is filled with the haunting vocals of Elly Jackson and the synthesized beats of Ben Laingmaid.  Though catchy and quick, the album fails to hold the intensive energy of their singles and becomes disappointingly lacklustre. A record that lacks real staying power over its full length - it slowly begins to wilt from about the half way point

The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10

Full Review:
When electro-pop band La Roux first appeared on the scene with the single "Quicksand" in December 2008, it seemed to miss its mark entirely.  However, when "In the Kill" blasted over the airwaves, they finally found their audience.  

The band's principle interests are drawn from the 80s; bands such as Depeche Mode and Yazoo, while the androgynous appearance of lead singer Elly Jackson emulates that of Annie Lennox or even Ziggy Stardust. They could be likened to the Danish band "Alphabeat" who managed first to bring the electro sound successfully to this century.

The opening tune, "In for the Kill" is a catchy, synth-heavy swell of Elly’s high vocals and infectious lyrics.

"We can fight our desires / But when we start making fires / We get ever so hot / whether we like it or not"

The album, however, has a much darker sound than the one we got acquainted to from their singles.  Many of the lyrics are pregnant with obsession. Take "Tigerlily" (opening with the lyrics: "Well tonight out on the streets I’m goin’ to follow you") which apparently describes a jealous and passionate friendship, although it hints at unrequited love.  However, the songs almost destroys itself with a horrible spoken piece which genuinely sounds like a scene from Michael Jackson’s "Thriller", interrupting what could have been a perfect tune.  The darker theme continues in the song "Quicksand" ("I’m the obsessor, holding your hand / it seems you have forgotten about your man.")

The album does have some tunes that break this trend, some which so are addictive you will find the lyrics spinning in your head at the oddest times. Particularly songs like "I'm not your Toy" and "As if by Magic" which have a much more upbeat, almost bubblegum-pop sound to them.

In terms of album play order there is, unfortunately, a sense that something was amiss. There is a real lack of flow which can make the album less comfortable to endure.  The opening track "In for the Kill" may have been a killer single (pun not entirely intended), I’m not sure how well it works as an album opener considering the tone of much of what follows.

My biggest criticism of this album, however, is its lack of real staying power.  The truth is that the album slowly begins to wilt from about  the half way point and by the end it verges on annoying and self indulgent. It was unfortunate that the songs some might start out loving soon became sickening and more than a little annoying.  It is definitely worth a listen but sadly that may be about as often as you will want to hear it before the high pitched screech of Elly Jackson begins to slowly grate on your ears and mind.

Elaine Peppard

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3 comment(s) so far...


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Re: La Roux 'La Roux'

As much as I love this album now, Elaine, I think you might be right - apart from 'Quicksand' I can't imagine I'll still be listening to it next year. And next year is only four weeks away.

By aidan on   Tuesday, December 01, 2009
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Re: La Roux 'La Roux'

I also think Quicksand is the most hooking tune and I do find myself veering back to it despite the scathing review!

By Elaine Peppard on   Wednesday, December 02, 2009
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Re: La Roux 'La Roux'

I love this album, but then again I've always had a weakness for electropop, I love the Little Boots album too. I first came across La Roux when they were only drip feeding Mp3s on blogs, before you could even get your hands on the first Kitsune singles. That's a long time between then and the albums eventual release and the tunes still hadn't gotten old for me (despite a seemingly endless stream of remixes), and even then the album was still in heavy rotation for me for several months, and I'd have no problem revisting it now, so I gotta disagree about the albums staying power. As pop music goes, that's an eternity and as long as any album stays in heavy rotation for me, being a bit of an ADHD freak. It's weirdly addictive. The Yazoo comparisons hold up well, "upstairs at erics" is still more enduring than many "serious" albums from the era, and I can see myself revisiting La Roux long after many of todays "serious" albums sound stale. I guess your tolerance for this album depends on how much you like Elly Jacksons vocals, personally I love her voice, but it's not exactly got the deeper pitched warmth of Alison Moyet so I can understand how it'd annoy some folks.

If there's one genuine criticism I've heard regarding the album, it's the sameyness of many of the synth textures, they're not exactly causing the likes of Apparat to lose sleep on that front. It's a minor one though. Damn, I've nearly written an alternative review there, I should get the finger out and start writing my own again. ;D

By Binokular on   Monday, December 07, 2009

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