La Roux
La Roux


4.0
excellent

Review

by STOP SHOUTING! USER (28 Reviews)
February 5th, 2010 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The ugly duckling turns into an ice queen.

Such an ordinary girl. Elly Jackson looks like a typical teenage shop assistant, sullen and spattered with freckles. Despite the rather sophisticated band name (La Roux – The Redhead), she looks suspiciously ginger to me. Doesn’t she know that pop stars, female pop stars, should be blonde and doll-like, all mini-skirts and cleavage?

And what’s going on with her thin, reedy voice, with its straining falsetto, like fingernails slithering down a blackboard? She’s a professional singer for god’s sake. Doesn’t she realise female pop stars (Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Leona Lewis, Britney) should be pitch perfect, key perfect or just …perfect?

The only remarkable thing about her is her hair, all big and bequiffed, and even that, surprise surprise, is stolen from the 80s (A Flock Of Seagulls). Just like her synthpop backing music, with its bleeps and bloops sounding like a primitive Binatone or Atari video game. Even now, Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yazoo/Yaz, Erasure) must be in the midst of filing a law suit for theft of his whole musical identity.

And here’s the thing. Even her lyrics are trite, with their typical boy meets girl fare. Except that Elly goes out of her way to deny this, trilling “I’m not your toy/This isn’t another girl meets boy” (I’m Not Your Toy). Err, isn’t it? Which makes me wonder what exactly this is, if it isn’t that?

In fact, with the very first line of the first track (“we fight our desires” -In For The Kill) she lets slip what this is really all about. What drives these songs is some kind of underlying primal force that, against all the odds, makes them compelling; thrilling even. But I’m not just talking about adolescence at its rawest; but about Elly’s struggle with her own sexuality. Nearly every song here revolves around desire, frustration, yearning, betrayal. There’s no real conception of love. Only sex, which is always dark, secret and hidden.

Elly provides a harrowing insight into what it must be like to be a gay teenager. At an age when hormones are raging, she reveals how confusing it is that your same-sex friends, the very ones you need to confide in, are the objects of your desire. The sense of loneliness on this record is palpable and by all accounts she did break down in tears during the recording of them.

As I have said, the music is retro and derivative, but that’s part of the fun, name-checking the influences (In For The Kill=Yazoo/Yaz, Tigerlily=Lady GaGa/Michael Jackson, Quicksand=Prince, Bulletproof=Dead or Alive, Fascination=Kraftwerk, Reflections are Protection=The Human League). Actually, as hook-laden as these songs are, perhaps the synth britannia arrangements may not do them any favours. By the second side the relentless synthesizers and electro beats do give off a rather one dimensional feel. Oh, to hear a bit of bass to beef up the sound, or some layers of guitar.

In 2009, at only 20, La Roux has taken the UK by storm with a no.1 and no.2 single, as well as another top twenty single, and a no.2 album. (And if the superb bonus track Saviour is anything to go by, with its echo of This Mortal Coil, there will be more success on the way). But it wasn’t just commercial success. There was also much critical praise, with nominations for a whole host of prestigious awards, such as the Mercury Prize and The Brits.

Badly bullied at school for being ginger and boyish, perhaps Elly Jackson can now at last afford herself a smile.



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user ratings (291)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Bitchfork (3.5)
La Roux: enjoyable electro-pop that just screams "guilty pleasure."...

AtavanHalen (4.5)
The album of the year race just got fired up....



Comments:Add a Comment 
STOP SHOUTING!
February 5th 2010


791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think she has denied being gay...

Knott-
Emeritus
February 5th 2010


10260 Comments


so she's said she's not gay but you know better i'm confused

AggravatedYeti
February 5th 2010


7683 Comments


wouldn't it make sense to know if or if not she's homosexual before you base one of your positive arguments in your review solely on the fact that she is?

Knott-
Emeritus
February 5th 2010


10260 Comments


its like the daily star are doing music journalism or something

AggravatedYeti
February 5th 2010


7683 Comments


^hahaha

I guess to be fair -- her hair.

gay.

KILL
February 5th 2010


81580 Comments


omg not this again

BSX
February 5th 2010


1650 Comments


Hmmmm

klap
Emeritus
February 5th 2010


12408 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is very newspaper-esque, but well-written

RobotFrank
February 5th 2010


344 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My favorite album of the year. Seeing her next week (NYC) and it can't come quick enough. Nice review!

Dreamsofmany
February 5th 2010


25 Comments


God I love this album and the review have a pos!

DiceMan
February 5th 2010


7066 Comments


Dreams just troll negged it. If you want it removed you can probably talk to a moderator or something. Unless you believe that you deserved it.

Rationalist
February 6th 2010


880 Comments


horrid album

AtavanHalen
February 6th 2010


17919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sounds like someone at NME wrote this.

Rationalist
February 6th 2010


880 Comments


true dat

illmitch
February 6th 2010


5511 Comments


ive only listened to in for the kill

but that song fucking rules

nice review

Titan50
February 6th 2010


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Elly Jackson looks like such an ordinary girl




No she doesn't, she's far uglier

STOP SHOUTING!
February 6th 2010


791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wouldn't it make sense to know if or if not she's homosexual before you base one of your positive

arguments in your review solely on the fact that she is?


maybe she's denied it because it would impact on her sales or cos she thinks it's her own business...but

whatever, i'm going to write about what i think she's singing about.

AtavanHalen
February 6th 2010


17919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

She was fairly secretive about her song meanings when I interviewed her.

STOP SHOUTING!
February 6th 2010


791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hey ata, where can i read that interview?

Foxhound
February 6th 2010


4573 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I am digging this chicks hair.



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