Review – Trouble in Paradise by La Roux


Way back in 2009 La Roux burst into the music world with a No.1 single and a huge hit album

Now that co-founder Ben Langmaid has left the fold, singer Elly Jackson is now effectively La Roux. 5 years is a long time for a breakthrough act to follow up a massive hit first album. So with such a long gestation period is Trouble in Paradise worth the wait?

Opener, Uptight makes it immediately clear that there is no massive reinvention going on here. The love of 80’s synth pop is still evident, though fuller and more fleshed out. Kiss and Not Tell is a stronger track; a song of faith but also of breaking free. It’s closer in feel to the first album than the opener, but still shows progression. It reminded me personally of Ottowan (D.I.S.C.O) one-hit-wonders, in a good way – and amazes in that such a thing is even possible. Cruel Sexuality is another upbeat song, seemingly about more straightforward sexuality than you’d expect. The closing repeated lyrical refrain goes on for too long and weakens the song in my opinion. The song segues into Paradise is You a warm beachside love song, simple in expression musically and lyrically… A decent pop ballad!

Sexotheque isn’t the cheap smut you might expect, but a straightforward “he wants to play the field, she wants to settle down” song with a classic pop vibe, that flows into the similar in oh-so-many-ways Tropical Chancer (a Chic infused smooth disco number). Silent Partner‘ breaks the mood, a song of survival in a violent abusive relationship. By far the heaviest and most substantial subject matter offered up here, yet riding atop a mid 80’s Pointer Sisters disco pop tune that has a quirky uplifting feel. Let Me Down Gently is not a million miles departed from its predecessor lyrically (though happily without the violence); musically an out and out ballad ground is trod upon yet it still brings a tune and melody with it.

Then all of a sudden track 9 (and album closer) The Feeling is upon us. The song feels demo-ish. Its message is hidden behind an indecipherable vocal performance, as if the singer won’t allow herself the joy that a full on love affair could bring her. It’s a little frustrating, in more ways than one.

The album is largely upbeat, summery and tuneful. Yet there’s a mask here too; there’s not a lot of heavy subject matter and yet you feel as if you’ve been kept at arm’s length. It’s brief like a summer fling, a holiday romance, yet refuses to fully let go. Though more ‘live’ sounding than the first album, it feels it could have been released the year after. There’s a talent for sure here, but if it’s gonna make the impression it wants to there needs to be some “letting go” on album three. I’m sorry Miss Jackson, please make it for real.

Author – Ian, Romford store