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Music July, 29 2013

AlunaGeorge’s ‘Body Music’ Album Review

AlunaGeorge, aka London duo George Reid and Aluna Francis, are being touted as one of the most exciting acts to emerge from the UK this year.  On the brink of mainstream success and hoping to crack the States with an upcoming North American tour, their debut album Body Music has a lot to deliver.

The record begins with “Outlines,” an unusual album opener. Rather than electing one of the tried and tested heavy hitters “Attracting Flies,” “You Know You Like It” or “Your Drums (Your Love),” the pair opted for a smooth, spacious love song. The gentle boom-bap production (courtesy of Reid) accompanied by Francis’ delicate love-lorn vocals bring a real sense of fragility to this glimmering track. In particular, that “outlines of youuuuu” lament as the track fades out is gorgeous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWR9MR5juWI

Next up is the instantly-recognizable “You Know You Like It” and what a journey this track has been on. Originally picked up and released by Raffertie’s Super Recordings, then to Tri Angle Records and finally as a rerelease from Island Records. Even a year after the initial release, it still has that uncanny ability to get heads rocking at 90-degree angles. The synths, claps and effortless bounce of the whole thing are a testament to Reid’s craft.

However, that’s not to say Body Music is a perfect record. At times, the production and vocals seem slightly disjointed. On “Kaleidoscope Love” I can’t help but feel the production is too rambunctious; too many spacey bubble pops and an overpowering bassline drown out Francis’ vocals. While I appreciate the heavy garage influence of “Diver,” it is not as enjoyable on “Lost and Found” which features bleep-bloops in abundance and too much manipulation of Francis’ voice to create hooks (something Reid seems to favor highly).

What is obvious is the number of single-worthy songs on Body Music. Tracks like “Best Be Believing,” “Superstar” and “Bad Idea” are unabashed pop at its finest. Marry these with the collection of bass, garage and R&B fused tracks on the record and it’s easy to understand the hype that has led to nominations for the BRIT Awards and BBC Sound of 2013.

Body Music continues to surprise throughout. This culminates in a cover of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” – not to be taken too seriously yet pulled off with fantastic effect. Hearing Francis profess “You see the hood’s been good to me /
Ever since I was a lower-case G” is equal parts hilarious and refreshing and this cover alone is sure to resonate with an American audience. However, given the strength of production and vocal talent throughout Body Music, it’s only a matter of time before AlunaGeorge gain worldwide attention. With acts like Disclosure and Bondax already trailblazing electronic music, this is a very exciting time for British music.

Body Music is out on 29 July via Island Records and you’d be a fool to miss it.

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