AlunaGeorge fill dancefloors on sophomore record I Remember
With a second place in the BBC Sound of 2013 poll, expectations around UK duo AlunaGeorge were sky high. Aluna Francis and George Reid dropped their debut album Body Music that year, which turned out to be a fresh collection of electronic pop songs. However, they only managed to set some charts on fire with their Disclosure collaboration ‘White Noise’ and the DJ Snake remix of their ‘You Know You Like It’. The timing seemed right for them when they returned in January with the dancehall inspired ‘I’m In Control’ featuring Popcaan, but again, a big hit did not happen. Is there any hope left for the album?
Aluna and George followed ‘I’m In Control’ up with ZHU collaboration ‘My Blood’ and the slightly disappointing Flume track ‘I Remember’ and returned to form with the swinging ‘Mean What I Mean’, featuring raps from Leikeli47 and Dreezy. Throughout the whole album, AlunaGeorge sounds best when they attempt to fill dancefloors. The most uptempo songs with thick beats leave the most impression, while the more laidback midtempo ones, although not being bad in the slightest, are not memorable enough to be pushed as a single.
I Remember opens with the fiery production and soaring chorus of ‘Full Swing’, with Aluna delivering the right kind of attitude in her vocals to sell a song like this. ‘Not Above Love’ is a nice exception to the rule of midtempo tunes not impressing here, with a delicious 60s soul vibe with a fat bass and a highly catchy vocal melody line. ‘Hold Your Head High’ is right on the money with a Major Lazer like production and irresistible hooks. The track in that sense follows the sound ‘Mean What I Mean”and ‘I’m In Control’ set out.
After George’s decision to disappear behind the scenes instead of appearing in their music videos, the sound of the band took a turn towards more hiphop and dancehall inspired productions, but with ‘Jealous’ they dive back into the glorious electronica that dictated their debut. Another major difference from Body Music is the way Aluna’s quirky vocals are handled. Her high pitched voice sounds fuller this time around, which prevents it from becoming grating after a while.
AlunaGeorge saves some firework for the end of the record with the ear catching production of highlight ‘Heartbreak Horizon’ and the atmospheric closer ‘Wanderlust’, full of vocal effects. Without the necessary hit singles this album will probably slip under the radar when it comes to the general public, but AlunaGeorge delivered a well produced, highly danceable sophomore record.
Must listen: Full Swing, I’m In Control, Mean What I Mean, Heartbreak Horizon, Not Above Love