La Roux Vs Little Boots Vs Florance and The Machine

9 Jul

This month has seen the release of three debut albums by some 80’s loving, slightly eccentric British women. There has been a lot of competition between the three (competing for press, tv, radio etc) so I thought I’d spin all three to find out which is worth investing in.

La Roux – La Roux

Listen without any prior knowledge and it would be easy to think this album came straight from 1984. The Synths are squeaky, the drum machine is kicking and the vocals are robotic and strong. There are some killer tunes here as proved when two songs when top 2, not bad for a first attempt. ‘Bulletproof’ and ‘In For The Kill’ were the singles and they are also two of the best songs here, on what is a singles driven album. ‘Quick sand’ and ‘I’m not your toy’ are also future hits, surely, and both could easily have been  Annie Lennonx songs as well. Like much 80’s pop the songs are steely hard and just as cold. La Roux’s vocals are good but hardly stunning, you certainly wouldn’t class here alongside Lennox in that respect.

Unlike 80’s pop albums, I can’t help thinking there is a classic ballad missing. There are some slower songs but they never really hit the mark, and she is missing one essential ingredient of that decade – echo. The production is very simple and 21st century, I think it’s the one thing letting this album down.

Overall this is a good pop record, original, dark and intelligent. I don’t think it’s a classic, but it could be the start of better things for La Roux.

Little Boots – Hands

If La Roux comes straight from 1984 than Little Boots is a little harder to track down. In fact she could equaly be said to come from 1974, 84 or 2004! She is equaly parts glam rock, prog rock, synth pop and kylie pop. The production is very modern and in keeping with Girls aloud, Sugababes etc which gives ‘Hands’ a much more contemporary sound than ‘La Roux’. That’s not to say this album is uninteresting though.

I feel it is a three headed album. First you have the earlier songs we are all familiar with – ‘Meddle’ and ‘Stuck on repeat’ That Little Boots made in her bedroom on some high tech instrument and then posted on youtube. The we have the shiny, dancey numbers that were clearly worked on by some big name pop writers (see ‘Remedy’ and ‘New In town’) and then we have the rest of the album – slightly weirder songs that vary in quality.

Hands is a very good pop album from someone who only has an OK voice.  It isn’t as funny or original as Lilly Allen, isn’t as sharp as La Roux and isn’t as immediate as Girls Aloud – but it’s confidence and ambition make it a sure winnder. I love the style and the sharp vision which make Hands a winner.

Florance and The Machine – Lungs

This album is very well named. Whereas Little Boot’s album was hand crafted and sculptured (i.e the title ‘hands’) this album is all about the voice (i.e the title Lungs.)

But Florance isn’t the amazing singer she thinks she is. Her voice is whimsical and powerful sure, but it you can’t help thinking that echo plays a large part. At times she feels distant and fantasy like, a voice to admire but not one to love. Unfortunately there is too much emphasis on the voice and not enough on the songs which are all over the place.

It kicks of with two belters -‘ Dog Days’ and ‘Rabbit Heart’ – but the highlight is ‘kiss with a fist’ which represents the rockier side of the album. ‘Howl’ and ‘I’m not calling you a Liar’ also stand out. By the final few songs however I was bored and slight tired of her voice. Several songs sound the same – tired, forgettable and indulgent. ‘Lungs’ is not a bad debut but I forsee much, much better albums than this to come from Florence.

Results

1. ‘Hands’ – Little Boots = 7.5
2. ‘La Roux’ – La Roux = 6.5
3. ‘Lungs’ – Florance and The Machine = 5.5

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