I've been rather unkind about La Roux in the past, calling them La Poo and describing Elly & co as a Eurythmics tribute band. Despite all that, I actually quite like their music. I just don't think recycling 80s beats and hairstyles makes them the musical revolutionaries they are often held out to be. That's not to say they don't know their way around a four minute pop song. "Bulletproof" is utterly irresistible and their ode to La Toya ("I'm Not Your Toy") is a total grower. Anyway, I jumped at the chance when I was invited to their one and only non-festival show in Sydney. I feared the concert might be painfully pretentious and a little too cool for school but it was surprisingly fun and low key. In fact, there was something distinctly old fashioned (and dare I say it - 80s) about the minimal staging and ultra brief setlist.
As far as I'm concerned, Elly Jackson IS La Roux. It's hard to take your eyes off her when she takes the stage. There's just something wonderfully alien about her appearance. I imagine if Tilda Swinton were transported back to the 80s, she'd look a little like Elly. As effortlessly charismatic as she is, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed with her live vocals. Elly's voice is even more thin and brittle than it sounds on record and it was often hard to hear her over the band. However, when things clicked - the show was first rate. I loved hearing "Fascination" live (this is surely the album's 5th single?), "Quicksand" was a definite highlight, "In For The Kill" had the crowd in a frenzy and "I'm Not Your Toy" gets more delightful every time I hear it. They closed their incredibly brief set (they only performed 8 songs) with "Bulletproof" and it almost brought the house down. I'm still not convinced La Roux are the second coming but after Tuesday night I have a lot more time for them and their particular brand of 80s inspired pop.