Monday, July 21, 2014

La Roux, Trouble In Paradise

New lamps for old 

Now, there’s another great album no one will talk about, and another great tour no one will visit. And it’s only because their second album, Trouble in Paradise, doesn't have any catchy hook and therefore it will doubtfully yield any hit for them now. This is not what their (or just her, since the duo has separated and now it’s only Elly Jackson forming the group) fans expect anyway, but it seemed like it was the only way. I am always happy to write and talk about people who understand where music needs to go. This was the only way because music needs to go back to listening the albums, at least, artists need to respect fans who do that, who buy vinyls, CD's, or download integral albums.

 It seemed like Elly was interested in finding the perfect sound, and although 70’s indie pop might be totally in and in the same time a bit weary right now, you still have to know the sound to make it work. That’s it, know the sound. See it. Throughout the whole album you can see the ghosts of Blondie, Talking Heads, and it’s actually the new wave revival story. Synthesizers, drum machines, fuzzy and worn out guitar echos making a rock sound muffled in disco.  People have been doing that for the last couple of years, (Foster the People, Haim, Gossip) but nobody came this close. These echos are best shown in the first single, Uptight Downtown, not so much worth commenting lyrically, but only as a well-crafted song announcing the project.

The singles people will probably like the most would be Kiss And Not Tell and Sexoteque, for two reasons, the first being that they are the happiest tunes on the album and most likely to be played in clubs, the second being that they remind us, more than the others, of their previous songs like I’m Not Your Toy or Bulletproof. Let Me Down Gently, lyrically brilliant song, with a promising start and verses sounding much like Madonna’s late 80’s phase (Live to Tell and Like a Prayer) develops into a slow disco jam, lustful and innocent in the same time.

...I hope it doesn't seem like I’m young foolish and green, let me in for a minute, you’re not my life but I want you in it, and I hope it’s sinking, left behind your perfect skin, that’s a part of you that’s free, and I know there’s a place for me...

The last song on the album, The Feeling, is recorded in a way that impersonates an old recording, much like Jack White’s instant recording booth, only here La Roux needed much more engineering to be done. Anyhow, we needed that scoop of past not only for nostalgia’s sake, but to go back and think a little bit more about what we are going to do in the future, what type of sound we need to create. Tropical Chancer, had a big name included in it’s production, Jeff Bhasker, who previously collaborated with Alicia Keys (Girl on Fire) and Kanye West (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 808s & Heartbreak, and Watch the Throne with Jay-Z), other than that, it is Al Shux, Elly Jackson, and her previous band mate, Ben Langmaid who cut the cloth. 

It is inspiring to see artist standing their ground and fighting for their freedom of expression. I won’t go that far and discuss if it’s just a copy of a foggy disco sound, since I want my generation to sound that good and since we know that her creative ideas cost her losing her partner in crime, Ben Langmaid. Elly had approached him with some  old and rare disco recordings which he openly disliked from the very beginning of the writing, so she knew she had to carry on alone and pass her vision. He, on the other hand, knew he needed to help her with that before leaving, so they wrote a couple of songs more and disembarked/embarked on a yet another musical adventure. 

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