International Interscope Records’ and Grammy award winning artist La Roux breaks her silence with a new single and video to usher in her comeback to the charts. The UK-pop singer’s latest track Let Me Down Gently and Uptight Downtown show a growth in sound but still reminiscent of her break-through track Bulletproof. Set to take back the airwaves, dance floors, and fans’ playlist, the latest singles are a break from La Roux’s five-year hiatus and set the tone for her upcoming full-length project Trouble in Paradise.
Once a duo, La Roux’s comeback comes with a darker past that translates into the sound of the latest single. Many may associate La Roux with the eccentric style and signature voice of lead singer Elly Jackson, but keyboardist and former manager Ben Langmaid was a large part of Jackson’s success. The two started as a debut and adopted the popular name La Roux as a band name in 2006. The pairing was definitely a recipe for success as the their first single Bulletproof quickly shot to the tops of Dance/Electronic charts.
With a vintage, yet modern sound, Jackson’s infectious voice became just as recognizable and unique as her androgynous style. It was not long before the pairing reached crossover success in the United States. The self-titled debut album quickly became a classic that spawned multiple hits (Bullet Proof, In For the Kill, and I’m Not Your Toy). Mixing synth-pop sounds, dance rhythms, interesting lyrics of an emotional break-up, and drawing inspiration from 80’s acts like Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and Erasure, the two found acceptance in an ever-changing market of critical music fans and appreciation from fellow artists, like Kanye West. However with the pairings’ success, it would be some time before the public heard a follow-up to the groundbreaking debut.
At the midst of their success, La Roux took an abrupt hiatus from music to work on the much anticipated sophomore album. As speculation of the two parting ways began to rise, the information surrounding the album became less prevalent. Fast-forward to this summer, La Roux made a comeback to the airwaves as a more solo act but still held the La Roux name.
The duo that collaborated to make such a well-received debut was no longer together and the sound was slightly different and more organic. Jackson states the departure of Ben Langmaid as manager and collaborator was due to creative difference. Although Langmaid still has a heavy influence on a majority of the nine new tracks, the departure from the debut album’s sound is more just as apparent as the split. With the latest single comeback single Let Me Down Gently, La Roux changes looks and transitions her sound from a synth-pop, electronic sound to a more acoustic vibe.
The comeback single shows maturity in the young singer as she moves towards a more organic feel. Within the first listen of the track, the feeling of abandonment and emptiness in the vocals channels through the darker tone but still holds the attention. Still echoing the same feelings of loneliness, La Roux brings in more percussion where electronica existed. Although the emotional Let Me Down Gently is a different listen for fans, the follow-up Uptight Downtown brings back that light, dance vibe. Both tracks can be heard on her upcoming nine-track project Trouble in Paradise, hitting stores July 22nd.
By Tyler Cole