Review: Body Music by Aluna George

Jordan Beck

AlunaGeorge Island, 2013 (50 minutes) [4/5]
“Body Music”
Island, 2013 (50 minutes)
4/5 Stars

British synth-pop duo AlunaGeorge isn’t named after a nightclub, a character in a movie, or anything like that.

The truth is far simpler: the singer is named Aluna Francis, and the producer is named George Reid. That’s it. So, maybe they don’t have the most clever band name in the world, but at least they have “Body Music.” Filled with personality, innovation and some seriously addictive songs, AlunaGeorge’s first album is one of 2013’s finest debuts so far.

One of the strongest elements of “Body Music” is Reid’s distinctive production. Inspired by both ‘90s/‘00s R&B and modern-day electronic music, the album has a sound that’s simultaneously familiar and progressive.

It’s also extremely versatile, as many of these tracks would sound equally good on the dance floor at midnight or through headphones the next morning.

But even the sleekest, most cutting-edge pop production would be worthless without the tunes to back it up. Fortunately, “Body Music” proves that AlunaGeorge are just as talented at making songs as they are at making songs sound good.

Powered by Francis’ quirky, yet powerful vocals, the album’s melodies are insidiously catchy in the best of ways.

The album’s opening track, “Outlines,” offers a prime example of AlunaGeorge’s occasionally unconventional, yet wildly effective songcraft. Oddly enough for the first song on an up-and-coming group’s first album, “Outlines” isn’t loud and upbeat. In fact, it’s an honest-to-God slow jam.

But what it lacks in adrenaline, it more than makes up for with smooth vocals, atmospheric production and a truly unforgettable melody. “Outlines” is a bold choice to start “Body Music” off with and that boldness is what makes it work so well.

The songs which follow “Outlines” tend to be faster and louder but they’re just as experimental. Lead single “You Know You Like It” combines its sugar-sweet melody with a thudding bass line and slot-machine synths.

“Attracting Flies” is far more crisp and bouncy than its title would suggest, thanks largely to its high-impact percussion; and “Your Drums, Your Love” is a ballad equipped with two massive hooks: the pitch-shifted intro and a weightless chorus.

“Body Music” isn’t a perfect album by any means. One of the biggest issues is its duration at 14 tracks and close to an hour long, it can feel a bit overwhelming by the time you get to the last third.

Additionally, it’s a bit front-loaded, as most of the really fantastic songs are placed on the first half of the tracklist, and there’s not a ton of variety to AlunaGeorge’s signature sound, which runs the risk of making them look like a one-trick pony.

That being said, when a band’s one trick is something this unique and when they perform it this well, it’s hard to get mad at them for making it last. Perhaps AlunaGeorge’s second album will be streamlined, flawlessly paced, and ruthlessly edited. Or perhaps it won’t. Whatever the case, “Body Music” is here right now, and it’s ready to be the soundtrack to the end of your summer.