La Roux returns with Trouble In Paradise, a long awaited follow up album to 2009's La Roux, with a new sound.

It’s been nearly four years since La Roux’s debut album La Roux was released. Like a bolt of lightning, the British duo, singer Elly Jackson and writer/producer Ben Langmaid, introduced themselves to the music scene with impressive mastery over drum machines and synth progressions. Unfortunately, only half of that rambunctious persona makes it into Trouble In Paradise, perhaps due to the fact that half of the duo has left the group due to creative differences. Now, La Roux is made up only of Jackson, and is seeking to reinvent itself with this latest album.

I have to admit I was very surprised with the new direction this album took. Gone are the days of the dark but catchy electro-synth-pop found in “Bullet Proof” and “In for the Kill.” Instead, Trouble in Paradise serves up some fun-in-the-sun with tropical tunes, conveniently released in time for the summer –“Paradise Is You” drives the beach theme all the way home. The difference in style between La Roux and Trouble In Paradise make a jarring juxtaposition; it’s as if the racy synth-pop music came to a screeching halt and turned down for summer vacation. It’s certainly a different style from the music that La Roux initially came out with, but there are a few similarities. La Roux cleverly uses the same type synths and drum machines from their debut album on Trouble in Paradise, maintaining a calm and cool tranquility.

Judging the album on it’s own merits, Trouble In Paradise is a decent collection of beach tunes. “Silent Partner” is probably my favorite song off of the whole album. Its 70s/80s disco-dance style is a very welcomed blast from the past, reminding us that retro is cool. The bass in the background echoes familiar sounds from an 80’s Madonna. It’s fast-paced, and Jackson’s voice pierces through with power and an unspoken defiance, recalling Jackson’s “Bullet Proof” vocals. Weaker songs like “Sexotheque” make for murky waters in this ‘tropical paradise.’ “Sexotheque” tells a vague story about lovers who reach a snag in their relationship, so the guy is spends his time at the sexotheque (context clues possibly suggest a strip club), while the girl stays at home. The defeated sentiment clashes with a bold take-sh*t-from-no-one personality we first heard from La Roux in “Bullet Proof.”

Trouble In Paradise is by no means a bad album, and there’s nothing wrong with artists reinventing themselves. But in the case of La Roux, it just seems like an odd choice for Jackson to choose this radically different style for La Roux’s sophomore album considering La Roux built a solid fan base with La Roux’s electro-pop. This new album didn’t meet the racy expectations I initially had, which deflated the experience for me. Bottom line: Trouble In Paradise didn't disappointment me too much, but let’s hope La Roux goes in for another kill in their next project, and soon!

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