I took serious pause at H&M the other day when I looked around and all the t-shirts had pictures of Biggie Smalls and other ‘90s icons on them. I had a hard time believing I was so old that the ‘90s had already become vintage the same way The Ramones made for 1970s vintage t-shirt bait. But it’s just our turn, and fashion isn’t the only place we’re seeing ‘90s nostalgia. British duo AlunaGeorge (early-twenty-somethings Aluna Francis and George Reid) are making electro-R&B that moves swiftly between aerie perches and lovelorn shadows while paying homage to the sounds the two grew up with.
Influences from bands such as Sneaker Pimps and early Robyn have clearly seeped into Francis and Reid’s own material. Despite being catchy as hell, Body Music did throw me at first with its relatively obvious rhymes and lyrical choices. But the knowing coquettishness of Francis’ voice and Reid’s lascivious beats are always enough to pull me back in, and those initial instances were the last of the telegraphed moves.
The album traverses everything from the sensual to the fiery with “Attracting Flies” and its tempo that could weave through LA rush hour traffic. AlunaGeorge’s breakthrough single, “Your Drums, Your Love,” bats fourth on Body Music, offering a proven track as the album’s anchor. Francis achingly coos, “I’ve been treading water for your love / whether I sink or swim it’s you I’m thinking of,” over the marshy and robotically romantic musical textures. It is a song whose lyrics and delivery pull at the heartstrings; my heart heart thumps in anticipation of the next beat. AlunaGeorge’s drum, my love.
Body Music is alluringly familiar in that it’s comprised of just enough middle school nostalgia but with an updated take on studio tricks and synth beats. The album is something that brings comfort while still mining listeners’ curiosity. Point in fact is the bonus track on the album, the duo’s cover of Montell Jordan’s classic party hit, “This is How We Do It.” The track features deep, elongated backing vocals with a hopping beat that takes the song in a more poppy direction. Take a ride back in time with AlunaGeorge.
Body Music is out tomorrow, July 30th, and you can catch the duo at El Rey Theatre when they’re in town on September 12.
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