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La Roux – Let Me Down Gently

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It’s about damn time!

When I first heard a static-y leaked version of “Fascination” in ’08, I knew La Roux was going to be big.  Their arrival onto the scene coincided perfectly with the rise of blog and remix culture, and their sonic combination of pop, soul and forward-thinking synth music in fact prefaced the rise of today’s electro-pop craze.

“Going in for the Kill (Skream Remix)” led to Purity Ring; “Bulletproof” to CHVRCHES. And many of the unheralded tracks on La Roux’s eponymous 2009 debut, like “Armour Love” and “Cover My Eyes” set the stage for Lorde and similarly simmering female vocalists. La Roux contemporaries – Little Boots and Ladyhawke especially – haven’t gained anything near the popular acclaim and staying power.

What I’m trying to say is that, by my measure, Ellie Jackson is the co-queen (along with Robyn) of modern pop vocals. I was lucky enough to catch a La Roux live set last year (my second overall). Jackson’s stage presence is elite, and the audience clearly knew every song. The was also chock full of killer new material that fit into their canon without being repetitive, and I left feeling pumped for a new album. Then, nothing. The wait continued.

Now, finally, after 5 years, La Roux will release their second album, “Lost in Paradise,” stateside on July 8th. “Let Me Down Gently,” the lead single from the album, is an instant classic for La Roux fans, but surely will not be the lasting impression from the album. It’s a fine taste of a sound that’s been imitated over and over but not yet matched, delivered, despite the layoff, without missing a beat.

The tracklist has been released, and includes songs titled, “Sexotheque” and, “Tropical Chancer.” The band played the latter at the show I attended, and let me tell you, it will bring the house down when released. I’ve been singing it to myself for over a year, not knowing the title or lyrics…“t-t-t-tropical chancaaaaa.” I can’t wait.

La Roux hits the road in June, and will tour the US (both solo and as New Order’s opener) through July before heading back to England. If the swing passes through your town, don’t sleep. Pop mastery is rare, and strong live performance of their caliber even rarer.

Welcome back La Roux.

La Roux – Let Me Down Gently