Overseas, La Roux (real name: Elly Jackson) is hot shit right now. The 21-year-old Londoner's dance-club electro-bounce sounds like something from 1983, right when U.S. record companies starting scooping up new-wave divas and selling them to famished music fans as the future. But Jackson and Ben Langmaid — the other half of La Roux's creative force — sidestep that whole "future" thing by making their debut album a big bear hug of retro love. The beats are rinky-dink and robotic, the vocals are shrill and flat, and that's just the way they planned it (the U.K. has detached hipsters too, you know). When Jackson latches onto a hook — like on the opening "In for the Kill" — La Roux halfway lives up to its hype. But most of the time, the album soaks in its own synth-pop self-awareness. The real keeper is "Bulletproof," the song that made La Roux such a big deal in the first place. More of these and she could move beyond the '80s. — Gallucci
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