La Roux’s Elly Jackson has become the poster child for the world of British electro-pop in the U.S. That may be thanks to her peculiar style, but the music really does speak for itself.
High-pitched, breathy, female vocals paired with deep-booming and cold synthesized instruments seems like every electronica lover’s dream. But when those vocals start forming melodies that catch in your head and take hold long after the song’s three-minutes are over, you know there’s a pop phenomenon taking flight.
This is exactly why when La Roux released their singles “Quicksand” and “Bulletproof” on their eponymous album in Spring 2009, I had it on constant rotation in my car — and it was played loudly. Every one of my friends who rode with me were exposed. Nobody heard more of La Roux than my lovely girlfriend.
“La Roux,” my girlfriend enunciated dubiously. “Are they French?” she asked with disdain. (Something about a Texas girl like her and the French don’t really seem to mesh.)
No, La Roux is not French. They’re British. Their name (which is a French phrase) alludes to Elly Jackson’s firey red hair, which is always coiffed to angular perfection.
That was enough to get my girlfriend over her initial distaste and sing along to every note of the group’s electro pop perfection. La Roux’s newest and final single from their eponymous album is “Tigerlily,” my favorite from the album.
Their album still plays frequently in my car a year after I downloaded it, a tough sell in the age of iTunes.
And yes, I wrote “their.” La Roux isn’t the stage name of that crazy, redheaded, androgynous girl. It’s the name of an electronic pop duo that has just recently landed a Billboard Top 10 U.S. hit.
The face of the creative duo is the aforementioned Elly Jackson. But in the depths of the 80s-inspired electronic production is Ben Langmaid. Jackson fields all of the press junkets, photoshoots and audience interaction for the group. Langmaid stays quiet behind the production booth. He doesn’t even participate in the live shows for the band.
The duo’s U.S. hit “Bulletproof” is a half-spoken breakup song with an enormous chorus. Watch the video of this international hit:
The newest track to seep into U.S. radio from the band is “In For the Kill”. The song has been released in the U.S. with a new music video, as is projected for all of the group’s singles that were released almost a year earlier in the U.K.
Watch the video below (and beware of snakes!):
La Roux’s album is in stores now — even Wal-Mart carries it, Sulphur Springs! Or, it can be downloaded on iTunes.
This is the first installment of the New British Invasion series by Luis Noble. The invasion of British redheads continues with the next installment, featuring Florence + The Machine.
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