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3.3 out of 5 stars7
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 26 August 2010
I've been a fan of Renaissance since the 90s and been relentlessly buying their albums for years. The days are gone when I'd buy anything that left the Renaissance stable and I'm now much more picky, these are hard times after all.

When I saw this album, probably like most Renaissance fans the idea of an 'influences' album and La Roux seemed to sit uncomfortably with brand. However thanks to a small microsite on the Renaissance site I had a listen and I was hooked.

This is very different to previous releases and the name 'sidetracked' really works well. This is an album that will take you back to some of the more aberrant 80s tracks, and if you like the electro sound of that decade this is a must buy album. If you don't like La Roux, their musical style or the 80s then give this one a wide birth.

The tracks that really had me hooked were; Doot Doot by Freur, Big Bubble No Troubles by Ellis, Beggs & Howard, Precious Little Diamond by Fox the Fox (which reminds me of Imagination), Self Machine by I Blame Coco, Big Blue World by Paul Haig. And since buying this album it's been on loop for over a week now, so different is it to the stuff I normally listen to.

The album is mixed together really well with enough interesting highs and lows to keep you hooked and it's quite a musical journey you go on. It's a bit like one of those random clubs you end up on a night out with friends that's playing a mixture of eclectic tracks that somehow perfectly complement your mood.

I hope this is the beginning of a winning series of albums from top names old and new.
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on 30 July 2010
Once I'd read the setlist my expectations for this mix were not exactly stratospheric, but by the time I'd heard the third track (the awesome Ms Joyce Sims) I was hooked. The mixing is nicely finessed and the track order and choice actually makes sense. The other reviews don't mention there are some recent acts sprinkled through, such as Fever Ray and Kavinsky, and the fact you don't really notice is tribute to the overall conception. It's a fine Nu 80s mix showcasing La Roux's inspirations and influences.
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on 24 August 2010
Welcome to my review of the La Roux - Sidetracked album,
it's a pleasure to share my thoughts with you, hopefully you will find my review interesting (or at least kill a few minutes if you are bored!).

First off, I am a big fan of 80's music, though being born in '86 I guess I was a little too young to be out and about in the neon clubs partying with new romantics!
I think it must be subliminal though as I seem to have developed an affinity with this era over the last decade of my life.
I've always strived to find an album that encapsulated what I thought the 80's were about, not so much the commercial music (that everyone has heard time after time) but rather the tunes that made a difference to someone's life.
I can't say I'd make the same choices if I were given the chance to make my own "Sidetracked" album but I do like the tracklisting for the most part.

Having listened to it three or four times all the way through (in different settings, in the car, mp3 player and just sitting at my computer doing some research) I have a mainly positive outlook, there isn't anything immediately grating (unless you don't like 80's music that is!).

The tracks seem to segue into one another quite well but, personally, I would have preferred to have had the songs played in full instead of mixed together, perhaps with an explanatory "intro" or "outro" with La Roux (either Elly or Ben) describing why that particular track was chosen. There aren't any cover notes to explain the choices or even a paragraph on the packaging, talking about the thoughts behind each song or the album as a whole construct.
Maybe it's just me but I would have liked to read a bit more "behind the scenes".
I know that certain tracks mean a lot to me, I could probably write an essay on some of my favourite songs! A sentence or two would have helped to understand the tracklisting as a whole.

Most of the tracks, to me at least, are not as well known as those that EVERYONE has heard before (and most likely think of when someone mentions the 80's). I particularly liked the first three tracks with Japan, Heaven 17 and Joyce Sims opening the album. All of them tinting my inner glasses a neon shade of electric pink!
For me though, the one glaring issue (it might just be my copy though) is the intro and subsequent Freur track, Doot Doot.
As a song (in any guise, "radio edit" or 12" original mix) that has formed part of my all time top 10 (sad I know) tracks that I love to listen to, you could say I have a bit of an attachment to it.

Unfortunately, in the mix with the previous Doris Troy track, the introductory "nightscape" sounds a little sped up, thinking it would settle I didn't give it much thought... until the track kicked in for good.
It seems that the whole track has been sped up to help it match up with the tracks on either side of it in the playlist.

The subtleties of the track are lost when it is sped up even by, I believe, around 1.5x it's normal speed. The track in itself would have been great as a "finale", an encore to a generation of music that has inspired so many of the twentysomethings of today, instead it seems to have been wedged in between two other tracks, that in my opinion, don't allow the song to stand on it's own merits and develop the "soundscape" it so rightly creates when listened to at a normal "speed".

All in all, I like the album, it's something that has grown on my since I bought it a few weeks ago but, as the Freur track has been effectively "neutered" of all it's meaning, I can't help but take off two stars. One for the speeding up of the track, the other for potentially ruining the chances of people finding out about this great tune!

To sum up:


Good track selection - enough to send me back to my early youth

No major "80's cheese" tracks - there are other album,s for that ;-)

Nice track length and mixing - although I would have preferred unmixed tracks it could have been a lot worse!


Some of the track mixing isn't as spot on as it could have been - going from "Under My Thumb" to "Right Down The Line" was a little bare to be frank! At it's best (and whilst it didn't really help the following tune) was the outro to "Just One Look" and the "Doot Doot" intro.

The apparent "speeding up" of Doot Doot - surely a crime in the musical community?

Tracklisting - whilst good (and varied) it didn't really pull me in as much as I would have liked (obviously this is subjective though as I am sure they each mean a lot to Elly and Ben).

Well if you are still reading this, treat yourself to a biscuit, I think your eyes have probably burned off a few hundred calories following my ramblings :-)
Worth a look for La Roux fans (to see some of the inspiration behind the group) and also for fans of 80's music, just do yourself a favour and switch over to the original 12" version of Doot Doot when it kicks in on track 7!

H :-)
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on 4 August 2010
So glad I managed to grab this!
Really feeling the Rolling Stones cover, can't wait to finally see her live!
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A great selection of music by Ben Langmaid and Elly! I love specially Doot Doot!
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on 28 July 2010
I was delighted to see a new album was coming out but I didn't research it properly. This album features tracks by Japan, Heaven 17 and Blancmange with ONE SINGLE TRACK SUNG BY LA ROUX!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel quite deflated.
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on 28 July 2010
Shame on renaissance for trying to sell out and release a truly awful 80's mix from a one hit wonder. Following hot on the heels of one of their genuinely best ever releases (Hernan Cattaneo's Masters Series 16) comes a woeful, boring and instantly dated 'mix' by a 'pop star' trying to get as much publicity as possible.
Even the packaging is the cheapest, most unadventurous renaissance have ever released.
The only consolation? It actually won't even get them the mainstream success they bewilderingly seem to crave, as very few people will actually buy it.
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