Review Summary: A solid, fun debut showcasing the London duo's electro-pop strengths
The modern r&b/electro-pop duo AlunaGeorge have slowly begun to creep into the British pop consciousness in their skimpy lifespan, most identifiably via their collaboration with another hot British electronic act, Disclosure, on the [almost] chart topping single “White Noise”. As an introduction to the twosome it was honest but incomplete, as their sound is partly comprised of obvious pop hooks and clean, dance-floor ready arrangements, but it is also daubed with left-field, alternative touches. Thankfully, debut Body Music does a sturdy job of satisfying both markets, with tunes set for both nightclub gatherings and morning-after musings.
Early single “You Know You Like It” features, and is every bit as seductive as Aluna Francis’ long legged, smouldery faced pose on the LP cover. The grooves and beats are laid back, and take their time bouncing along behind Francis’ cooing vocals. Follow-up single, “Your Drums, Your Love”, which made a slightly deeper dent on the charts, also appears and it’s hard to understand why it failed in being the duo’s big leap forward on the charts, being the half spacey electro, half laid-back r&b number it is. While it represents a more alternative edge to the pair, when compared to succeeding single “Attracting Flies” especially, it is important to note that the pair’s songs – whether marked as singles or album tracks - blend commercial pop hooks with alternative production touches. Follow up single “Attracting Flies” aids this point, being the most successful pop hit they’ve enjoyed thus far whilst maintaining the leftfield edge with its distorted whistle, and clipped, crunchy beat. Matching the aforementioned with pouncing vocals and one hell of an infectious chorus, “Attracting Flies” is the duo’s blend at its most satisfying and adept – pop music that need not be a guilty pleasure, or a source of irritating carelessness.
Further testament to the opinion that the duo are in it for more than chart scorings is the knowledge that a good portion of the album is comprised of music that, whilst hooky and accessible, isn’t nakedly aimed at the pop charts. There’s quirky, hazy electro-pop on “Kaleidoscope Love” and “Bad Idea”; laid back, silky r&b on “Diver” and “Outlines”, and alternative electro-pop nuggets abundant. The cover of “This Is How We Do It” which closes this fine album is another superb example of the group’s effective makeup. It’s pure joy, pulsing with an irrefusable groove which admittedly borrows from the original’s strong melody, but is brought up to date with Reid’s modern, quirky production touches. And that is a key part of AlunaGeorge – their appeal, their style, their destination – they are a couple clearly thankful of R&B’s past, but only from a post-modern standpoint. Bringing the past up to date with fresh, sprightly arrangements but also holding clear ambitions for pop success, AlunaGeorge are a welcome and worthy addition to British pop music.