Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
Retro. Effortless. Brilliant
on 28 July 2014
For any new artist trying to be successful in the ever more cut-throat music business, a 5 year gap between debut album and follow-up is unthinkable. World class acts which have been established for 20 or 30 years or more; yes. New acts in their early twenties; no. Definitely not.
However, La Roux's Elly Jackson is not cut from the same cloth as many of today's here-today-gone-tomorrow artists. The 5 years that have elapsed since La Roux's debut have been extremely eventful, and stressful, for Ms Jackson. She parted company with her collaborator on the debut album, Ben Langmaid, and is now effectively on her own.
La Roux's 2009 debut album was considered by most to be very strong, and was almost universally critically acclaimed. It had great songs, but a rather unfortunate tinny production, and Jackson's voice was, well, rather shrill and piercing at times. But it had a lot going for it and the potential was certainly there.
Forward 5 years to 2014 and finally, at long last, we have the follow up, Trouble In Paradise. It was well worth the wait. The songs are better, the production is better, and Jackson's voice has matured and she sounds great.
Jackson clearly wears her influences on her sleeve, and this album has a very 1980s feel to it, and in a really good way. You can hear elements of The Eurythmics, David Bowie, Madonna, Erasure (when they were good), Pet Shop Boys, Human League, and even Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk. She has thrown all these influences into the pot, written 9 absolutely cracking tunes, and has turned out what must be in the running for album of the year. Every one of the 9 songs is superb. There isn't a filler in sight.
If there's any justice this whole album should be the sound of Summer 2014. Although Jackson has had a tumultuous few years, the songs on this album sound anything but. They sound effortless and fun, which only comes from a confidence that Jackson clearly has in her abilities as a top drawer songwriter and performer. She said in a recent interview that too many songs by today's new artists sound like there is an underlying element of 'panic' about them. And when you contrast those with the tracks on this album you know exactly what she's talking about.
This really is a brilliant album. But please, don't make us wait 5 years for the next one!