There's something disappointingly familiar about La Roux, and I don't just mean the cantilevered shock of red hair sported by the singer Elly Jackson, which summons unhappy recollections of Flock of Seagulls, the 1980s "modernist" pop band. Like Little Boots, La Roux's limp retro-electropop carries with it the instant sour tang of curdled expectations.
To hear Depeche Mode wrestling the primitive synthesiser technology of 30 years ago into bold new sounds from the frontline of future-pop was, in its day, an exciting experience. To hear those exact same sounds now glibly accessed via foolproof modern equipment, with no compensatory increase in imagination, is to witness ambition crumbling at the first hurdle of originality. Still, at least Jackson and co-producer/writer Ben Langmaid have eschewed the cliched "cybernetic" angle employed by Little Boots, opting instead for the more emotionally- involved approach of charting the ups and downs of a youthful relationship. Sadly, it's no Blood on the Tracks, the duo lacking the transformative poetic ability that might distil insight from tribulation. Whatever stage of the affair she's depicting, everything about her response - from melody to delivery - seems to stay the same.
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