Since the departure of producer Ben Langmaid, synth-pop duo La Roux is now the solo project of Elly Jackson, who is finally back five years after their well-acclaimed 2009 self-titled debut. The new single is 'Uptight Downtown', taken from upcoming album 'Trouble In Paradise' (out 7th of July, via Polydor). So how does Jackson sound on her own?
From the get go, it's clear that this song takes a more 70s-influenced disco sound as opposed to the more 80s synth-pop La Roux is known for, due to the funky rhythm section and lavish use of guitars. Despite the change in sound though, there's still a distinct La Roux vibe to it; it proves Jackson's unmistakable vocals are capable of being sassy and fun as well as soulful and emotional.
In terms of the lyrics on this song, they're nothing amazing, but there's a strong theme of escapism: 'I can only ask myself, oh where are you all going, and won't you take me with you too, where all the sirens are blaring'. These lyrics in particular help build up to the incredibly catchy chorus that sees Jackson hitting sensually long notes as she sings 'It's all the way downtown' before the echoing effect of 'temperature is rising, is rising'.
The song ends with a particularly flashy piano line alongside Jackson repeating 'It's all the way downtown'. You wish the instrument had featured more in the song as it could've added a lot more spice; however, this is only a minor complaint for an otherwise great song and, to be fair, it does serve as a good hook to keep you coming back for more.
Overall 'Uptight Downtown' sees La Roux dive into disco music and put her own stamp on it. It doesn't tread new ground in the genre, but serves as an indicator for 'Trouble In Paradise' to be a promising album that will be well worth the five year wait.