AlunaGeorge - Body Music

7.5/10

album-of-the-week-boxAlunaGeorge have sky-rocketed from toilet circuit support slots with Friends and charmingly DIY videos to gracing catwalks (in more ways than one), clambering towards top spots on end-of-year lists and brandishing star-studded collaborations. It’s been a year of firsts for the duo, all leading up to the release of what is arguably 2013′s most highly anticipated pop debut.

They’ve dangled many sounds in front of us in that time: huge singles in the form of ‘You Know You Like It’, ‘Just A Touch’, ‘Your Drums Your Love’ and ‘Attracting Flies’, not to mention guest spots with Disclosure and Rustie. They’ve tantalised and mesmerised us further with ‘Diver’ and ‘Bad Idea’, but unfortunately, the anticipation has created a double-edged sword. We’ve heard almost half of Body Music already, and while the promise of a fourteen track album might have been an exciting prospect, the reality is dampened by the slight taste of disappointment: there are only eight fresh cuts here (and one’s a cover).

The material that we’ve already sifted through remains stellar, especially the aural middle-finger of glorious break-up anthem ’Attracting Flies’, stuffed with tough-like-toffee beats and that honeyed vocal tone we’ve come to adore. The juxtaposition of upbeat neo-dance/future-garage combined with Aluna Francis’ put-down of the year (“Everything you exhale is attracting flies”), is riveting.

‘Your Drums, Your Love’ is slick modern R&B tinged with the 90s stylings of artists like TLC or Aaliyah, fused with sleek Jamie Woon-stlye drum clicks and skewed, pitch-shifted samples. Rhythm is important here, whether it’s the lurking lollop of synth motifs or skittish hi-hats, the dancefloor appeal is all that matters. After all, it’s what made their ascent so irresistible.

The non-single efforts are more hit-than-miss, thankfully. ‘Bad Idea’, with its chiptune synths and a glitch-hop schtick, invigorates an record that sometimes leans very heavy on one musical idea (nostalgic R&B/pop with lyrics about love and tick-tock beats). While that’s clearly their calling-card, Body Music would benefit from some more of that revolutionary pop swagger they’ve been lauded for.

‘Superstar’ expands their palette a mite more with gorgeous basslines, Eastern-flecked hooks and car-wreck percussion. ‘Lost & Found’ is embedded within wintry blizzards; looming shards of icy-cool synth, along with samples of Francis’ voice brutalised and rehashed, shake up the pace. It’s a rapidfire number, a track with amphetamine rhythms and potentially the best production Reid can muster. Some moments, such as ‘Diver’ and the title track, come across as phoned-in. When other efforts colour outside the lines somewhat, the aforementioned revel in adhering to a mould, albeit one AlunaGeorge have made themselves.

Early on, the pair made the fatal error of being interesting, and as such were set upon by a media circus who extracted every vital detail and incited a clamouring horde demanding more. If they hadn’t been so damn good at the outset, we might not have required perfection; as such, AlunaGeorge were fated to never meet our targets. Regardless, it’s a record certainly fine enough to ensure the pairing will have no issues sprinting to the upper echelons of pop aristocracy.