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Trouble in Paradise has all the warning signs of the difficult second album. It arrives five years after La Roux’s debut, an aeon in pop time: La who? Then there’s the falling-out that has reduced the London duo of singer/instrumentalist Elly Jackson and producer Ben Langmaid to just Jackson, a break-up that has left them “not on good terms at all” in her words.
We prepare for the worst – only to find that Trouble in Paradise is a surprisingly strong follow-up to the platinum-selling La Roux, warmer-sounding and more consistent in quality than its predecessor despite its difficult gestation.
“Uptight Downtown” gets proceedings under way with colour-saturated funk-pop; the song is inspired by 2011’s London riots but possesses the strut of early Duran Duran. The mix of upbeat music and conflicted circumstances continues with “Kiss and Not Tell”, whose Chic-style guitar part, according to Jackson, catalysed the disagreement with Langmaid. His departure is alluded to in “Silent Partner”, which parlays Jackson’s bitter lyrics into a bouncy electro-pop anthem with a sped-up “Billie Jean” bass line. Irresistibly catchy, it’s the sound of an argument being won.
Trouble in Paradise