Review Summary: This time, La Roux is "inconsistent" proof.
It’s been 5 years since the duo (when they were a duo) released their debut self-titled album, a glittery synth pop album that contained plenty of room for work. It was told during promotion for this album that Ben Langmaid was now out of the picture, so even though La Roux is no longer a duo, (it now just being Elly Jackson) Ben certainly had a hand in building Trouble in Paradise.
What I will say about the long wait on the album, is it is clear to hear that the album was not rushed or put together lazily. There is a slightly larger state of maturity this time and the album maintains above average quality from start to finish with no real awful straggling tracks behind. I will even say that the duo knew what they wanted to do this time around, better pronounced with an idea in mind than their debut was.
The whole production on this sweet and almost psychedelic record is spiced heavily with nostalgic urgency and atmospheric new wave grooves. Now they aren't setting any new boundaries with the lack of different experimentation, but this is absolutely an improvement from 2009.
However, hopefully this will fade over time, but La Roux is showing that they are impressive with singles. What I mean by that is from their debut album, they spawned two fairly large singles for their debut, which were “Bulletproof” and “In for the Kill.” I found those singles to be superior to the rest of the record. While it's not as dramatic this time around, I was more pleased with, “Uptight Downtown” and “Let me Down Gently” from Trouble in Paradise. I sensed a large influence of David Bowie on the lead single, “Uptight Downtown”, specifically his song, “Let’s Dance.” It’s really a fantastic song that I would have no problems hearing on the radio. “Let me Down Gently” is great as well. The track progresses in volume and Elly Jackson’s vocals and lyrics especially are beautiful on this soaring and sexy song.
“Tell me that I’m someone good, so we’re not so far apart, apart.
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.”
Really I’m impressed with this direction. La Roux took a step back from the mainstream rush of the pop culture, how everything is so disposable these days, and they took the time to put together a decently well balanced album. Next time around I hope Jackson can dig down and put more depth into her overall lyrics and expression throughout an entire album. Going back to La Roux being impressive with singles, there were some songs that felt pretty shallow in Elly Jackson’s performance. Let’s be honest, with most electronic sounding records, it isolates the listener away from more natural sounds, so you really have to add more emotion to this kind of music when you’re following this path in particular. Don’t have one foot in the pool, being hesitant to jump in. If you’re going for it, then by all means go for it.