You'd think Elly Jackson would be against any major change after her debut album alongside Ben Langmaid as La Roux gained critical acclaim and a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2011, but selling out for something she didn't believe in was never going to be the right thing to do for her.
Recording new material in a barn in Devon with Langmaid, Jackson decided the results weren't what she wanted and made the decision to split creatively from her partner, eventually moving on and recording this new body of work with its engineer Ian Sherwin, who took over production.
Elly notes that this record has a "warm, kind of sexual energy to it." and she hits the nail right on the head. The disco influence that stems from her studio session with Nile Rodgers and 2012 Montreux Festival performance alongside him is very apparent, but this isn't a collection of songs with disco at their core. Instead, they simply take hints of that genre and blend it with others. It's really quite a magnificent move.
Personality comes across with each move, whether that's through opening track 'Uptight Downtown' which explores the part of south London that Elly calls home, or follow-up tunes 'Kiss And Not Tell' and 'Cruel Sexuality' which detail conflict between couples.
'Paradise Is You' is a laid-back and melodic love song which could be labelled a little too bland, and at 5 minutes 11 seconds, a touch too long, but it does provide a smartly placed break from the raucous action in the first few tracks.
We get straight back into that with 'Sexotheque' - inspired by a sex club seen whilst touring in Montreal, and telling the story of "a bloke who can't stop going to sex clubs". It's a lot of fun and doesn't go down the dark route many may expect, instead adding just another layer to the album.
Taking another leaf out of the theme book, 'Tropical Chancer' comes next and would sound perfect for those lay in a beach shack, cocktail in hand and sun beating down on them. The way in which La Roux manage to set the scene through their music is on another level to many in the business.
Attention to detail comes across in spades through longest track (7:10) 'Silent Partner'. It's Ian's chance to shine as the magic of his infectious production combines with the affluent vocals of Elly at times, and stands alone at others. Perhaps the title of the track is in tribute to Ian. He's Elly's partner but we never hear his voice. He is her 'Silent Partner'.
'Let Me Down Gently' is a plea that seems to be split into two parts. The first two and a half minutes set the heartbreak scene, but after this we descend into dark disco territory and the song's all the better for it.
Ending with 'The Feeling' was the perfect pop decision as we're reminded just how unique and special La Roux are, and though we may have had a very long wait, it's one that will leave the fans feeling proud, and the casual listeners becoming more than just that.
'Trouble In Paradise' is released July 21.
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