AlunaGeorge

Body Music

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Depending on the vantage point, AlunaGeorge's first album is either hotly anticipated or anticlimactic. The first singles from the BRIT-nominated London duo -- vocalist Aluna Francis and producer George Reid -- dated back two years prior to its release. The video for "You Know You Like It," their first song of note, was uploaded in August 2011, and it was followed by "Your Drums, Your Love" (October 2012) and "Attracting Flies" (March 2013). Those three A-sides, along with one of the B-sides, account for more than half of Body Music's high points. Alternately attitudinal and heart-rending electronic pop with some allegiance to contemporary R&B, they're sharp and spry, with George's moderately physical productions -- more about ornamentation than rhythmic force -- a good match for Francis' thin, sweet voice and lingering hooks. "You think I'm cold as ice/I'm just not easy to burn/But don't turn me into someone who'll break down and cry," from included B-side "Just a Touch," remains exemplary of Francis' lyrics, which are expressed with subtle tonal shifts that are easy to miss. Well over half of the new tracks fall into place as inconsequential album cuts, as easy to forget as "You Know You Like It" and "Your Drums, Your Love" are hard to shake. Three exceptions are the aching and feathery opener "Outlines," the gorgeously skeletal "Diver," and the smacking "Bad Idea." The last of that bunch hits almost hard enough to fulfill the promise of the album's title, and yet it's not as robust as "White Noise," their number two U.K. hit collaboration with Disclosure. Tacked at the end is a cover of "This Is How We Do It," a drastic misstep that has more in common with Raven-Symoné's version of Frankie Smith's "Double Dutch Bus" than Montell Jordan's original. (Sneaker Pimps' "6 Underground" probably would have been too obvious as a mid-'90s reference point.) Despite the part-compilation/part-extras makeup, this is one of the year's more enjoyable debuts.

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