Monday 29 July 2013

AlunaGeorge - Body Music

For a duo with such a recognisable, unique sound, ‘Body Music’ already sounds familiar.  Perhaps that’s because their breakthrough hit, You Know You Like It, originally hit back in April last year, whilst their first official single, Your Drums, Your Love, was released in September.  For fans, ‘Body Music’ has been a long time coming.  Or perhaps it’s because singer Aluna Francis and producer George Reid have stuck extremely close to their established sound throughout the album - there are few surprises here.

Is this a bad thing?  Not particularly: when you hit upon a sound that’s so contemporary, sexy and cool, why change it up?  The only negative is that, with a total of nineteen tracks, the duo do somewhat overstate the point, though there’s enough variation to keep listeners grooving throughout.

Anyone familiar with the band’s recent singles will know what to expect here: glitchy beats, sparkling synths and catchy melodies from Francis’ sultry vocals.  You Know You Like It, with its lurching beat and shimmering middle-eight breakdown, is prime dance material; it’s followed by the whistling hook and slightly gross chorus lyric of Attracting Flies (“everything you exhale is attracting flies”) and the sensual Your Drums, Your Love.  Each of these tracks epitomise the AlunaGeorge sound of twisted R&B, fusing icy electronics with soulful vocals.  It’s a sexual mix.

Despite this, ‘Body Music’ actually starts on a rather sombre note with the downbeat Outlines.  Yet each track is slickly produced and emotionally sung, whatever subject their sound is applied to.  On  Outlines, Francis breathily pines for a lost love (“is this paper all I’ve got to keep you with me?”) accompanied by subdued beats, whilst Bad Idea bubbles up as she spits out the chorus (“you’re a car crash waiting to happen, I’m putting on the breaks just to save myself”).  Later, the quietly throbbing synths match Francis’ sultry, whispering intonations of “your body is like music baby…our bodies making music baby” on the title track, followed by the laidback, teasing Friends to Lovers.  Other tracks hark back to the past with a futuristic streak, whether explicitly with the cover of Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It, or the 00s garage feel of Lost & Found.  The album finally ends with the electrifying, fizzing B Ur Boo, whose switch in its final moments from loud, crashing drama to a quiet, girlish fluttering of the eyelashes perfectly encapsulates Francis’ coquettish, flirtatious allure.  The changes from song to song might be subtle, but most of them are winners, though ‘Body Music’ isn’t without its share of filler tracks.

It may have its flaws, but this debut from the London duo remains one of the best pop albums of the year so far – a collection of songs that dazzle, thrill and arouse from start to finish.  For better or worse, nothing else sounds quite like it.


Gizzle's Choice:
* You Know You Like It
* Bad Idea
* B Ur Boo

Listen: 'Body Music' is available now.

Watch: AlunaGeorge will be touring the UK in October.