alunageorge

For better or worse, poptimism (the term to describe pop’s rising cred amongst connoisseurs and music writers in the early-2000s) purportedly happened. A decade after, AlunaGeorge along with this year’s slew of UKG-indebted Londoners are reaping the rewards, hailed as that rarest of things: truly credible chart-dwellers. Fortunate enough to earn both critical flattery and Radio 1’s Big Weekend bookings in equal dose, you could argue they were being allowed to have their cake and eat it. Of course, such unease is rendered redundant if the debut album they then deliver is a fully-formed, modern age humdinger, but sadly it’s not quite, eventually teetering on the edge of the EDM landfill that it proudly professes to have swerved.

That said, there is enough to suggest that the London duo (Aluna Francis and producer George Reid) haven’t been swept up in the wave, saluting plaudits of their slick futurism undeservedly. ‘Outlines’ is a smooth, slow jam with tastefully minimal synths, setting a seductive tone. Then early single, ‘You Know You Like It’ – with its Super-Mario-coin-collecting bleeps and writhing groove – proves a classy and compelling mass-pleaser that far-transcends the plethora of inane alcopop-ready floorfillers out there. Next, the brilliantly fidgety ‘Attracting Flies’, with its well-calculated assessment of bullshitters worth a doth of the hat alone, before ‘Your Drums’ proves to be ‘Body Music’’s beating heart, its timeless hook and stylistic sheen disapproving the very notion that a chart-desiring aesthetic can’t be intelligent.

Maybe in thirty years, even the breezy, future pop of ‘Kaleidoscope Love’ could soundtrack then-middle-aged porkers, haloing their handbags at hall-held birthday bashes. “I’m crystallised, cos you’re mine,” gushes Francis over its vibrant refrain; a call to arms for girls who’ve cracked the whip and tamed accordingly.

Alas, AlunaGeorge’s veil of contemporary superiority then disintegrates, mainly due to their slightly sickly formula being overworked to gagging point. ‘Superstar’’s incessant, whirring refrain could taunt in even the darkest nightmare; “I’ll be his number one fan,” Francis buoyantly coos, like a pre-teen mimicking her Essential R&B CD down one of those colourful, toy shop echo mics. ‘Just A Touch’, meanwhile, opens with a sound not unlike a dawn chorus, if the songbird was gargling poison; a lyrical hook interjects, but it’s hardly a reprieve, clumsily providing a lobotomised Lily Allen of a melody.

After the equally irritating ‘Friends to Lovers’ allows ‘Body Music’ to finally kick back, supine and grab some shut eye, it seems that this particular noughties pastiche could become draining very quickly.

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