Good pop music is instant, but great pop music lasts forever. Elly ‘La Roux’ Jackson, with hair like a winsome gingerbread Mr Whippy, a voice like spun sugar and on the receiving end of more hyperbole than Cristiano Ronaldo, Kanye West and Susan Boyle rolled into one, this debut is here to save pop music from the third Arctic Monkeys album or something dangerous like that.
In truth, the conceit is slight, but incredibly effective; moments in singles like ‘In for the Kill’ and ‘Bulletproof’ and soon-to-be-single-I’m-sure ‘Fascination’ are airless, tinder dry self-conscious pop that always feels like its holding something back.
The band’s (well duo’s) musical heart has been cleaved straight from the chest of Vince Clarke — hear early Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure in here — the problem is the heart just isn’t beating any more. The music shares stiffness with Clarke’s supposedly funkiest compositions but lacks his musical dexterity, sense of melody and joy. The whole production is suspiciously devoid of bass, giving La Roux the aural depth of a wind-up tin robot.
But (and it’s a big but) despite all its foibles and frustrations — and there are many — La Roux is still great fun to listen to. It might not stand up to any chin-stroking, muso boy analyses but it makes you feel good. Just like great pop music should. Damn.