- When La Roux originally appeared on Kitsuné Maison Volume 6 last year with debut single "Quicksand," there was something definitely eccentric about them (yeah, La Roux are a duo, kids, not just a pale chick with a avant-garde leaning hairdresser), especially when you put them next to the average blog-house hopefuls Kitsuné is too often the sponsor of. Elly Jackson's voice immediately attracted attention to itself, with maneuvers that evoked the theatrical excesses of both Björk and Karin Dreijer Andersson, but with the added glossy familiarity of Robyn's recent offerings.
Needless to say, the piano-backed "Quicksand" was a welcomed anomaly on a scene known for the throw-away, hype-bound nature of its productions, a success the duo gladly repeated with follow-up single "In for the Kill" (and its highly celebrated "Let's Get Ravey" remix courtesy of Skream) and current mini-hit "Bulletproof," all included on an eponymous first album that may be—next to Ciao! and Hands—the finest and most tuneful synth pop album you're likely to hear all year.
Thanks to Ben Langmaid's well-crafted button pushing and Jackson's quirky yet ardent lyricism, La Roux is packed with three-minute electro nuggets that beg for repeated listens. The album version of the aforementioned "In for the Kill" was always an obvious chart-topper, with an overtly twee melody strangely backed by more elaborate vocal arrangements; "Bulletproof," on the other hand, comes across as a tamer (and more naïve) take on Beth Ditto's feminist-tinged bravado, but is no less lovable. This feeling is also reflected on "I'm Not Your Toy," this time with more breakbeat-like asperities, while "Fascination" buzzes with the sort of synths that mid-career Human League would have been proud of.
On electronic torch song "Cover My Eyes," the duo even brings the London Community Gospel Choir for added pathos; yet, as fitting as it sounds, their inclusion can't help but also feel a bit superfluous—considering the song was strong enough without the fanfare in the first place. That, at the end of the day, is La Roux's greatest strength: The fact that you get struck by the songwriting on practically every track is a rarity in contemporary electro pop. But with the likes of Tiga, Little Boots, Calvin Harris and Frankmusik all hitting at the same time, it's not so much the case anymore. You can now also add La Roux to that list as well.
01. In for the Kill
05. Colourless Colour
06. I'm Not Your Toy
07. Cover My Eyes
08. As If By Magic
10. Reflections Are Protections
11. Armour Love