ALBUM Body Music
LABEL Island Records
RELEASE DATE 29.7.2013
8.9 | 10
Aluna Francis and George Reid’s debut LP as AlunaGeorge has been hinted at for over a year now, with singles “You Know You Like It,” “Just a Touch,” “Your Drums, Your Love,” and “Attracting Flies” all increasing anticipation for the album tenfold. Francis’ delicate and playful vocal delivery goes hand-in-hand with Reid’s explorative and subtle productions, with the two sounding as if they were made for each other. Throughout Body Music, their musical partnership as AlunaGeorge pays immediate dividends, as they have crafted not only one of the year’s best debuts, but arguably the best pop album of 2013.
The album begins with “Outlines,” which has Aluna Francis delivering the vocals in a lullaby-like state. “Is this paper all I got to keep you with me / Keep you from fading away?” she wearily asks, arriving at an undesirable conclusion. There is an uptick in tempo during the next two tracks, the previously heard singles “Like It” and “Flies.” Both are able to muster enough energy to keep them sounding fresh even months after first listen. It says a lot about the duo that the previously heard material maintains a currency that is seldom seen in other albums composed in a similar fashion.
“Your Drums, Your Love” is another one of those previously heard singles, and the slow jam remains one of AlunaGeorge’s best tracks. Francis opens the track by reminding her lover of their shared past, as she sings in resignation, “You can’t say I’m going nowhere / when I’ve been trying to reach you for so long.” During the chorus, the forlorn singer coos, “I’ve been treading water for your love / Whether I sink or swim it’s you I’m thinking of,” with the same amount of doubt hinted at in the lyrics.
Body Music would fall flat if the new material didn’t hold up to the promise of their earlier work, but luckily for all parties involved the new songs pack as much of a punch as their predecessors. “Kaleidoscope Love” fits in perfectly with the 2013 disco resurgence, as Francis appears at her most playful over sparkling synths and a fantastic array of instrumentation. The back-half of Music features more new material, including the kinetic “Lost & Found,” and the stunning title track. “Found” is one of the more left-field moments here, and by far the most upbeat, with it’s skittering beat and Francis’ spliced vocals interspersed throughout the chorus. On the title track, Aluna Francis coyly sings, “Your body is like music, baby / I want to play it again.” Like everything else here, the song is held together by a tight melody that allows the song to drill itself into your brain without you even knowing it’s there.
The album ends with the duo’s cover of Montell Jordan’s 90s classic “This Is How We Do It,” reworked for the EDM generation. Aluna Francis sounds completely in her element, delivering the vocals with a swagger and gusto that comes quite unexpected due to her dovelike presence during the preceding 13 tracks. It’s a fitting end to an album that in many ways is a tribute to 90s R&B. Much like another young UK duo, Disclosure, AlunaGeorge has created an album that nods heavily to the past while undoubtedly being of this time. Aluna Francis and George Reid have a knack for discovering melodies that sound as if they’ve always been there in our memories. And maybe they have. I’m just glad we have AlunaGeorge to set them free.