Going In For The Shrill.
La Roux’s Elly Jackson has one of those voices you either love or you hate. Or, in my case, are confused about. The often shrilly nature of her warbling is either an incredibly unique or truly horrifying trait. And whilst I’m not 100% sure of which team I bat for (one minute I love “In For The Kill” and the next I want to pierce my eardrums with an ice-pick so I never have to hear anything ever again), the evidence on this (unimaginatively self-titled) debut is clear – in the Pop realm of things, La Roux mean business. But is just ‘meaning business’ going to be enough to herald this as the triumphant pop recording so many have labelled it as?
“In For The Kill” opens the long player complete with its KASIO-101 stylings, before launching into album highlight “Tigerlily.” There’s no shrilly-vocal action here; it’s just a straight-up, bona-fide, classic pop song, complete with a brilliant chorus, great lyrics (“I can see you burning with desire for a kiss” / “I don’t like the taste of demorality”) and an ace nod to the talky-bit from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at the 2 minute, 18 second mark. Future single?
The records other truly spectacular moment comes in the form of “Colourless Colour” (in which Jackson sings about “early 90’s décor”), whose instrumental breakdown at the 2 minute 30 mark is one of the most exciting sequences of constructed musical notes to come out of pop in a very long time.
Use and abuse in the game of love gets coverage through the cute “I’m Not Your Toy” (with lyrics such as “You don’t want me, you just like the attention”), “As If By Magic” sounds like a lost Sophie Ellis-Bextor recording (this is a great thing), “Reflections are protection” serves as a jolty pop stomper, and the records first single, “Quicksand”, still remains one of last years absolute greats. Interestingly, current single “Bulletproof” seems to give off a sense of it being a song with everything (including the kitchen sink) thrown into the production process. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not entirely evident it has worked for “Bulletproof” and, some would say, the Jury is still very much out on the outcome.
There are some truly awful moments on the album though, particularly dreary ballad “Cover My Eyes.” Although the lyrics are great, the song as a whole package just takes the mood of the record down about 20 notches, and serves as a glaring filler-moment, one which adds unnecessary boredom in between killer-moments such as “I’m Not Your Toy” and “As If By Magic.”
NME recently claimed that this album was “the final word in the synth-pop generation.” People all over the place are heralding La Roux as some crazy outstanding saviours of pop. Yes; the album is good, but is it the latest provider of pop salvation? Not exactly, no.
For those keeping score, at this point; Little Boots = 01, La Roux = 00.
COMPETITION! Thanks to Universal Music Australia, I have 1 (one) copy of La Roux’s self-titled debut to give away. You MUST be a resident of Australia (sorry International readers) to win this prize. Simply email me with your name, address, telephone number and the funniest joke you know before Friday, July 17 5:00PM EST. The person with the best joke will win. The person with the worst may actually get something too.