Another of this year’s hotly-tipped new acts to make the Mercury shortlist (along with Florence and the Machine), La Roux are a duo from London, comprising Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid; though they have the appearance of being a solo act — even the name ‘La Roux’ refers to Jackson alone (though, as I’ve seen pointed out online, the name is gramatically incorrect). Now, with one notable exception, music acts named for hair colours tend not to be all that good; La Roux have some way to go yet, but they’re definitely promising.
There are two main stumbling-blocks. One is Jackson’s voice, which varies from okay to downright annoying. The second is the music, which is too in thrall to the ’80s for its own good; the duo recreate their influences rather than spin them into something new. That said, they make some good pop songs, like ‘Bulletproof’ and ‘I’m Not Your Toy’. Ultimately, though, I’d say La Roux the album is more a pleasant diversion than a great record.
Video: ‘Bulletproof’ (live)
Read my other Mercury Prize 2009 posts here.