Over the past 12 months, one band has pretty much been on everyone’s lips….. well everyone within the music industry that is, so it’s exciting to see that the general public have warmly taken to Aluna Francis and George Reid as much as the musos have.
Collaboratively, the pair go under the guise of AlunaGeorge – the former providing the sweet, soulful R&B vocals that perfectly shine across the latter’s infectious beats. Their debut album Body Music, set for release this coming Monday (29th July), has been anticipated by many, and fortunately for us, after many teases this week, the duo have opened the full album up for stream:
We’ve only managed an early play of this one, but on first take, this truly is a confident record. Francis’ sublime, [often child-like] vocals really do add something special – it’s an unique voice and that’s no bad thing. Track-by-track you realise that something has been missing in from the ‘pop’ charts over the years – whether that’s provoking lyrics or simply something fresh to stand out from the (and dare I say it) gruesome barrage of EDM that’s outstayed its welcome for far too long now.
The album starts out peacefully with Outlines, and slowly warms you into the ‘AlunaGeorge-zone’, essentially giving you a glimmer of what’s to come. Somehow haunting, the track would not look out of place on Siobhan Donaghy’s classic album Ghosts. Moving onto You Know You Like It which, if you weren’t aware, was actually released initially in April 2012, Francis goes in ‘softly-hard’. Oxymoronic yes, however that’s essentially how you can describe her vocal – fierce at times, often with bite, yet the child-esque manner we mentioned about still retains some form of smoothness. Reid’s beats start showing their zaniness on this one; whilst it might not be pure pop, it definitely would stand the test of time as that ‘lost track from a NOW! album).
Whilst both Attracting Flies and Your Drums, Your Love need little by way of introduction, the tracks manage to show the range in Reid’s production capabilities; electronica meets simple sampling.
No album unfortunately can be without its ‘lull’ moment, and Body Music is no exception – Bad Idea andDiver feel more album-filler more than anything else. Whilst they’re both strong in their own right, they don’t feel at the level we would expect from the sophistication of AlunaGeorge. Fortunately though the album picks up again with Lost & Found, a club-strong track that will get your body moving over an incredibly infectious, almost two-step beat. Sure it’s poppy in parts, but sometimes a chart album needs that and this firmly delivers.
Title track Body Music seems to show Reid’s influence by 4/4 producer Todd Edwards – chopping and twisting Francis’ vocals to such brilliance. It’s a standout of a track – not the strongest of the album, just a very VERY good song all-in.
The album’s finale is a cover of Montell Jordan’s 1995 smash This Is How We Do It. Whilst some may welcome this cover, I felt it unnecessary; it doesn’t really add much to the record and unfortunately seeks to remind you that this is still an album heading for the pop charts. Whilst in its original form This Is How We Do It was a strong cut, I find it hard to enjoy any other representation aside from Jordan’s initial cut.
Body Music overall is an incredibly fine and accomplished debut. It’s no wonder AlunaGeorge are winning over fans left, right and centre – if this carries on I’m sure they’ll be extending their prize-list by winning plenty of awards too.