Following the legacies of androgynous icons such as Annie Lennox and David Bowie, La Roux’s new CD invokes the good part of the 80’s. It also invokes the good part of dance music that sometimes seems forgotten. Less pathetic and beat reliant yet more invigorating. Like Lady Gaga, La Roux’s videos are not necessary to the music but are key in the message, visionary yet simple. Singer Elly Jackson’s face is unmistakable and so is her voice. Meaningful with a power that never wanes, one similar to that of New Zealand native Ladyhawke or electro pop sensation Little Boots. A sometimes monotonous yet beautiful high-pitched glory that I am completely smitten with.
Singer Eleanor Jackson and her song writing partner and co-producer Ben Langmaid make up the band. Influenced by 80’s bands like Yazoo and Heaven 17, they are vintage electronic candy to my happily melting ears. Jackson and Langmaid first encountered one and another several years back, in 2006. Their first single as La Roux, “Quicksand,” came out in late 2007. “In For The Kill,” their second single, has done quite well on the UK charts. As is expected, England is quite a few steps ahead of us when it comes to music. La Roux only just started catching on in a major way recently with the appearance of their video for “Bulletproof” on MTV.
La Roux, meaning “red-haired one” in French, are signed to Polydor Records, the same label as Klaxons and Kate Nash. Polydor also acts as the UK label for distribution of music by a wide variety of bands such as Weezer, Lady Gaga, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and even the Jonas Brothers. Before they released their debut on Polydor, the duo called themselves “Automan,” writing mostly acoustic tunes. From reading interviews I can do more than speculate that Elly Jackson is not a follower and has strong opinions. And I don’t mean she’s a bitch. Just not the shy nervous wallflower you might imagine from looking at her. She seems critical of herself and as a result, of others as well.
Angular and pasty with fiery red Tilda Swinton hair, Elly Jackson is not only musically talented but has all the attributes of a potential icon. She is strange and fashionable and boyish. The band’s songs are lyrically simplistic but also rather ingenious in that “I wish I’d though of that” type of way. I can’t really respect anyone who doesn’t take great care in all aspects of their craft. This is a band who takes great care, and it shines though invigoratingly through each song.
Almost every song from their self-titled debut CD is worthy of your Itunes music collection. But then again this music isn’t for everyone. Their sound is very reliant on beats and could only be described as electronic pop music. Don’t sour your face at the word “pop” though, that word may have some negative history but you have to remember the spirit. Their song “Tigerlily” starts with a booming Jackson spouting angrily and then calming her voice gently on the chorus. Something she does amazingly well, I might add. An expected formula with some unknown tweak of brilliance.
Jackson Croons “I don’t like the taste of your morality,” mid song. Well, I don’t like the morality of bands like La Roux not getting more recognition. Put your crappy Adam Lambert CD down and pick up this gem. With an even selection of thought provoking ballads like “Colourless Colour” and “I’m Not Your Toy” and loud brain drilling hits like the previously mentioned “Tigerlily” and “In For The Kill.” La Roux’s synth-happy CD will have you humming their tunes by the end of the day. The best two-piece band to enter your ear canal since you first heard The Kills, La Roux will rattle your listening device right off it’s platform or tightly gripped hand.