La Roux, "Trouble in Paradise" (Interscope/Cherrytree)
Coming off an artistic hiatus after a widely acclaimed, Grammy Award-winning debut, La Roux returns in force with an offbeat, electrifying and synth-pop second album.
"Trouble in Paradise" showcases the new La Roux, singer-songwriter Elly Jackson minus producer Ben Langmaid, who left the duo during work on this follow-up to their 2009 self-titled debut. Jackson paired with producer Ian Sherwin to finish off the job and the result is a nine-track collection that, while retaining the band's original sound and charisma, adds a sexy edge.
It starts off with a disco mirror ball of a tune, "Uptight Downtown," a gentle dance session in the making. It moves into strum-friendly "Cruel Sexuality" and the light touch "Sexotheque" where the instrumentals convey a childlike wonder in stark contrast to lyrics that tell the story of a couple where the man is a bit of a dog. "Silent Partner" turns from a Michael Jackson tribute to a nightmare scenario of an abusive relationship, while "Kiss and Not Tell" spins another tale of romantic woe. Slow burn track "Let Me Down Gently" sounds so vintage that La Roux should be paying royalties to the 1980s.
However, Caribbean-sounding electro party-starter "Tropical Chancer" comes as the front-runner of the album -- the perfect balance of rhythm appeal and sass -- a bit like this entire endeavor.