Due to be officially released on 21st July, 2014 by Polydor Records, La Roux has shared three of the nine tracks from their new album “Trouble In Paradise” on the band’s website. We here at FDRMX’s Encyclopedia of Music could not wait to hear the album in full, so we jumped on the chance to have a listen and offer up our thoughts on La Roux’s “Trouble In Paradise.”
Singer and producer Elly Jackson and former co-producer Ben Langmaid split due to artistic differences before “Trouble In Paradise” was completed. Jackson told The Guardian in May, “On the first record we would talk a lot and it became very emotional. One of [Langmaid’s] biggest roles was [being that person] I could go and talk to about lots of very personal stuff at length and then write about. But for want of a better way of saying it, I didn’t need that any more. I felt I could do that with a number of people.”
In response, Langmaid said a month later, “We’ve had creative differences in the past (what band hasn’t?) but we always got through them and usually the music benefits. I am truly saddened that it has ended this way, but I am immensely proud of what we achieved together. We wrote five great songs together, all of which are on the album. I’m looking forward to the record being a great success and I shall enjoy watching it unfold. I have immense pride in the part I played; no one can take that away from me.” Despite the slight sense of loss from the split, Langmaid, Jackson, current co-producer Ian Sherwin have made it clear with “Trouble In Paradise” that La Roux will do what it takes (even if it takes five years) to create a product worthy of leading the electro-pop pack.
The first official single of the album is “Uptight Downtown,” a song inspired by the 2011 London riots; “Streets are lined with people / People who want to move, move, move,” Elly croons. Quite a serious topic to open a pop album with (none of your typical heartsick lamentations here)! But manifested as La Roux’s token synth sound and glamorous guitars with Jackson’s penetrating voice singing, “Why are we fighting / I don’t understand / Oh the temperature is rising tonight,” makes it a jam you can definitely groove to while cruising down the street.
“Kiss and Not Tell,” brings the relationship topic to the table, with a disco backbeat and summery riffs. The synth sounds akin to your favorite old computer game’s background music; chipper and flirty. “Cruel Sexuality” is another statement on lovers’ quarrels but has a totally different sound to it, making it feel like a completely different story, with a thudding bass reminiscent of a dance club from the ‘80’s, a muted guitar, and quirky sound effects. “Paradise is You” evokes memories of a ‘60’s heartache love ballad, whereas “Sexotheque” lays down the funk for the album, about a man who can’t help himself from visiting brothels; “He wants to go where the red light shines so bright.” Jackson’s lyrics remain, as ever, satirical.
“Tropical Chancer” brings the island sounds of a steel drum and a calypso beat to tell the story a man who will, “…trade your loving for the things he’s never seen / The place he’s never been.” Sounds like this guy could be causing some trouble in paradise with his antics. We can only presume that “Silent Partner” is a salute to what Jackson and Langmaid once had as an electro-pop duo. “Let Me Down Gently” is breathy, with organ-patch synths sustaining you as the song builds up to a disco beat, while Jackson sings “Turn me into someone good / That’s what I really need.” Wrapping up the album is “The Feeling” which brings us back to that happy pop kind of place with a snappy snare drum beat and Jackson’s high-pitched yet silky vocals.
“Trouble In Paradise” was clearly made with a lot of love, patience, and even some revisions after testing out songs on tour, but the wait for this much-anticipated album will soon be over and fans will be ecstatic that La Roux is fully back in the game. “Trouble In Paradise” is a perfect piece of pop. You can preorder the album here. See the full tracklist and La Roux’s upcoming tour dates below.
Trouble in Paradise:
01 Uptight Downtown
02 Kiss and Not Tell
03 Cruel Sexuality
04 Paradise Is You
06 Tropical Chancer
07 Silent Partner
08 Let Me Down Gently
09 The Feeling
07-13 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre *
11-05 Glasgow, Scotland – O2 ABC
11-07 Leeds, England – Metropolitan University
11-08 Birmingham, England – The Institute
11-10 Bristol, England – O2 Academy
11-14 Norwich, England – UEA
11-15 Oxford, England – O2 Academy
11-16 Manchester, England – Ritz