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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Burning Breakthrough, La Roux Emerges From the Mainstream Quicksand

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Having dominated the British airwaves with infectious electro pop beats and ethereal, yet aggressive vocals for the past year, La Roux is set to break the American Top 40 this year, if her rise from the underground keeps up.

The twenty one year old London native Elly Jackson, known for her androgynous looks and striking hair –usually fashioned in a 1950’s inspired quiff– is the face of La Roux, which also includes co-writer and producer Ben Langmaid.

La Roux, French for “the redhead,” refers to Elly’s hair, but the act has become distinguished by her voice, which she referred to herself as the “falsetto in the ghetto” on the La Roux Myspace page.

Signed to Polydor Records in the United Kingdom and to Cherrytree Records stateside, La Roux is labelmates with big names such as the already familiar pop sensation Lady Gaga and alternative/indie star Feist.

The duo has released two singles and an eponymous LP. “La Roux,” the debut album, was released in the U.S. on Sept. 29.

It is infused with catchy dance pop hooks and finished with stylized synth stanzas, evident in the singles “Bulletproof” and “Quicksand”.

“Bulletproof” is currently No. 98 on the European Hot 100 Billboard Chart, while the album itself ranks tenth in the Dance/Electronic Albums list.

The album sold over a half a million copies according to British web magazine, The Quietus and its success is telling.

La Roux was a long term project, beginning in 2006 when Langmaid and Jackson teamed up to combine 1980s inspired tracks with electronic beats, creating  movement that pervades throughout the record’s twelve tracks from “In For The Kill” to “Growing Pains.”

La Roux’s first album is filled with classic influences from David Bowie and Michael Jackson, to The Cure and Eurythmics.

The opening riffs of “Bulletproof” are recognizable and as memorable as a Duran Duran standard.

The synthesizer, as overplayed as it was two decades ago, is still appealing today, especially with mainstream radio promoting autotune and synths prominently.

The best tracks off “La Roux” are “Bulletproof,” “In For The Kill,” “Tigerlily,” “I’m Not Your Toy,” and “Coulourless Colour.”

The lyrics may be straightforward and simple, but the defined sound is strong and contagious. “La Roux” is by far rooted in commercial pop than independent electronica.

There is enough idiosyncracy in La Roux’s image and the precise, manufactured resonance of the songs to make it enjoyable.

Besides, Elly set out to make a pop album, nothing more, as she is quoted in an interview with The Quietus – “it’s obviously pop music, but I don’t think it’s the shiniest album you’ve ever heard.”

The second album is already in progress and NME reports that it will “move away from their trademark ’80s-influenced pop sound.”

Elly’s comments to the BBC Newsbeat reveal that she is “into a lot more Italo disco and old funk” and that “the vocal style will be different” in the upcoming sophomore release.

It seems only logical that La Roux’s experimentation continues on growing.

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