I discovered AlunaGeorge in late 2012 after they appeared on the BBC’s Sound of 2013. In case you aren’t familiar with it, the Sound of… annual award showcases some of the most promising emerging talent, tipped to become BIG over the next year. Lady Gaga, Adele and Azealia Banks are amongst those who have been shortlisted in the past, so they are in good company.
AlunaGeorge —consisting of Aluna Francis’ unique vocals and George Reid’s sublime production— came second on the Sound of 2013 poll and it is very easy to understand why. They combine a mixture of pop, electronic, RnB and bass sounds to create compelling and infectious pieces of pop gold that are quite unlike anything else in the charts today.
‘You Know You Like It’, first released in April 2012, and soon to be re-released before their debut album, is a simple, downtempo song with catchy and memorable lyrics. Aluna’s vocals instantly shine over the shimmering, twinkling synths. Its repetitive nature ensures that it sticks with listeners and it is understandable why it was chosen as the first single as it will, and has, made listeners remember them. ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ performed only slightly better than its predecessor but it is equally, if not more, impressive. It begins slowly, with deep house beats before Aluna’s voice starts in a rather downplayed way. It’s clear that they are trying to experiment a little here. ‘You Know You Like It’ is more radio-friendly whereas ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ trials infusion of house and garage. Perhaps the production values overplay Aluna’s vocals, but it is a smart move. ‘You Know You Like It’ showcases what Aluna brings to the band with her incredible vocals over a simple track whereas ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ highlights George’s production without Aluna’s vocals outshining him, showing that both Aluna and George are equally important to the band.
So there we have two tracks, each showing off both of the member’s abilities. So what happens when they come together in equal harmony? The answer: pure gold. ‘Attracting Flies’ is the best song so far of 2013 for me personally. It starts like the other two songs: simple beats that lead into Aluna’s silky voice. It is the most infectious of the three songs and the most chart-friendly. It still has a rather repetitive nature, which once again benefits it, along with a catchy chorus. The contagious beats recur throughout the song along with quiet, shimmering synths and bursts of bass.
Aluna’s voice works amazingly with the more uptempo production and it is clear that this is what they have been striving for: dance music with substance. The lyrics, whilst once again simple yet effective, are more real this time around: “everything you exhale is attracting flies” is a more chart-friendly way of saying that the person Aluna is addressing through the song is speaking a load of bullshit. ‘Attracting Flies’ builds on their past musical efforts and then some. It brings Aluna’s unique voice together in unison with George’s infectious beats and shows that they work best when together.
Two other songs have been released which Aluna features in: ‘After Light’ by Rustie and ‘White Noise’ by Disclosure. ‘After Light’ is a cross between electronic dance music—which Aluna has already shown she works with well—and dubstep. Her vocals are breathy and soft and gel with the in-your-face beats perfectly. ‘White Noise’ brings together electronic dance music once again with beats of deep house. It is in a similar vein to ‘Attracting Flies’ with a catchy beat that runs throughout the song, a simple, memorable chorus and a repetitive nature that helps the song to stick with listeners. Both of these songs show that Aluna can and has crossed over into other genres successfully and she works incredibly well with the dubstep and house beats. Her voice is versatile and George needs to take note of this. I personally hope that there is some more experimentation evident in their debut album, Body Music which shows Aluna’s voice off against the backdrop of house, dubstep, garage and electronic beats.
Aluna is the star of this band. Her voice is unique and flexible and is able to work with a number of different genres, all of which are to my own personal taste. So if you, like me, are a fan of electronic, house and dubstep music I urge you to listen to this band. Their debut album Body Music is released on 29th July and if these songs are anything to go by it is going to be the album to buy this year.