Release Date: Sep 29, 2009
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
It took just over six months for La Roux to go from issuing their first single on Kitsune to topping the U.K. charts. That's a swift rise -- one that was years in the making, of course -- but after hearing their self-titled debut, it's easy to understand their sudden fame: La Roux's take on '80s synth pop is as unique as it is familiar. La Roux's inspirations, which include Blancmange and the Eurythmics, might be decades old and well-known, but their spare coldness can still sound weird, and La Roux shows just how committed they are to that chilly oddness and catchiness.
We've all had a bunch of fun this year with glo-fi and balearic-influenced tunes, sifting through fuzz and hiss and gauzy beats to find our precious pop gems, but occasionally you need a respite from spelunking. What better way to emerge into the light than with unapologetically derivative 80s synth-pop that features hysterically expressive vocals and sharp songwriting? Meet La Roux. In the UK La Roux is already a household name, boasting #1 and #2 singles to go along with a #2 peak placement for the group's eponymous debut album, which finally gets its U.S.
Of the three synth-toting female singer-songwriters who have so far dominated the Big In 2009 lists, 20-year-old Elly Jackson is by far the most complex figure. You can guess as much just by looking at her. In contrast to her glittery blonde counterparts, she looks pale and wan and rather Tilda Swintonish, staring glumly from beneath the kind of haircut that will one day provoke affectionate chortles from comedians and kids' TV presenters on I Love 2009.
This is the moment in the stories of La Roux and Little Boots when everything is supposed to go wrong. Grotesquely over-laden with premature accolades, Elly Jackson and Victoria Hesketh are now expected to release faintly disappointing debut albums and then step gracefully to one side to let the next big thing come through (it's the dubstep crossover, apparently). But these two twentysomething Facebook divas have turned the crushing weight of expectancy into a means of generating creative momentum.