For the London duo’s second album, the follow up to 2013’s ‘Body Music’, Aluna Francis and George Reid have collaborated with a number of other artists. This may suggest uncertainty and a lack of confidence in their core sound, but it also shows a willingness to experiment and develop.
In actuality, ‘I Remember’ falls further along the latter end of the spectrum. It’s clear that certain collaborators have had a large impact, yet this remains an AlunaGeorge album through and through, even if it’s not a huge step on from their debut.
Take the album’s title track. Produced by Flume, it inescapably bears the mark of the Australian producer with its choppy, fragmented synth samples and metallic, spectral sound. I Remember could easily be an outtake from his own album, ‘Skin’, released earlier this year. Yet Francis’s vocals add a soulful warmth that complements the production, whilst the R&B rhythms hark back to the duo’s debut. It is, in short, a perfect collaboration.
Other singles, I’m In Control feat. Popcaan and Mean What I Mean feat. Leikeli47 and Dreezy, reveal an influence of Jamaican dancehall and US hip-hop that have permeated the rest of the album. The former track is an utterly infectious pop-dance track that deserves every success. The latter merely follows in its footsteps.
Elsewhere, the tracks alternate between minimalist electronics and buoyant dancehall pop, with Francis’s vocals gently caressing every glittering synth and processed beat. Not all make an impact, but standout tracks include atmospheric opener Full Swing feat. Pell, the heavily computerised drums of My Blood feat. ZHU that contrast with the live instruments of the shimmering Mediator, and the bubbling, neon stabs of closer Wanderlust.
In the process, AlunaGeorge have created an album that’s tighter in focus, yet sonically more experimental than its lengthy predecessor, with more confident pop melodies juxtaposed with spectral production. It wears its influences and its origins on equal sleeves. With a sound that was fresh to begin with, the inclusion of wider artists has resulted in a very tempting pop package.
* Full Swing
* I Remember
Listen: ‘I Remember’ is out now.