The UK-based, futuristic R&B duo known as AlunaGeorge is taking dancefloor, sensual beats to an even dreamier level. Dubbing their debut album, Body Music, as music for the bedroom, the punchy yet simplified hip-hop grooves concocted by George Reid pairs flawlessly with Aluna Francis’s sweet vocals.
The two met after Reid sent a MySpace message to Francis’s old band asking to remix one of their songs. The duo collaborated together hoping to create material for her own group, only to realize they had their own unique chemistry. Over the course of two years, AlunaGeorge released their You Know You Like It EP, taking the contemporary R&B, edgy yet simplified hip-hop, future garage sound in a new direction, making music lovers around the world rejoice.
Body Music as an album is constructed in a slightly undesirable way. Three of their major hits (‘You Know You Like It,’ ‘Attracting Flies,’ and ‘Your Drums, Your Love’), which garnered them initial recognition are all placed within the first four songs. The fourth single (‘Just a Touch’) is even put into the latter half of the LP. The regular version of the album features fourteen songs, ten of them being fairly new material. With the deluxe version (purchasable on iTunes), however, listeners are given an additional five tracks, begging the question as to why management decided not to include these in the regular album. The bonus tracks are incredibly strong and impeccably produced – the growth in production and conversation between Francis and Reid is obvious in them. The management could have eliminated three or even four of those lead singles, added the deluxe ones instead, and they would have had a very compelling and well-crafted album.
Removing the deluxe version from the equation, the LP as a whole is an adequate body of work but still leaves more to be desired. It is, admittedly, very catchy and covers the bases of sexual escapades and relationships. In body thumping ‘Lost & Found,’ we have a dance floor jam with wonderful female empowering lyrics from Francis. It’s a song to vent-dance feelings out to. The transition into ‘Best Be Believing’ keeps up that emotional drive and keeps the body rolling going. It’s got fantastic hip-hop beats, old-school sounding backup singers, and maintains the overarching sensuality prevalent throughout the LP.
The buildup from slower grooves into an upbeat direction is exceptionally done – we hit a dancier vibe after ‘Diver’ which seems to be the primary focus of the Body Music. It takes a turn with the title track of the LP, which is also one of the strongest songs on it. ‘Body Music’ is an absolute gorgeous gem, full of sweet indulgences and incandescent dreams. ‘Friends to Lovers’ is even sexier, pulling from classic R&B synths and drum beats, and when coupled with Francis’ croons is an absolute delight. It’s a cascading drift through nostalgic memories and a less cliche version of a rom-com.
Body Music finishes with a surprising cover of ‘This is How We Do It’ which makes you jump out of your seat. It’s playful but kind of strange, leaving an uncomfortable taste on your tongue. I’d rather have heard them perform this live as a way to get a crowd moving or more amped up for the rest of the set. They could have gone with a song from the deluxe version (see what I’m doing here?) and made this a bonus single instead.
Overall, the AlunaGeorge debut album was okay. There seems to have been some pressure from management to put their four biggest songs on the album and counter-productively made it weaker. It’s too long and takes a while to chew through – I only played it all the way through just a handful of times. Despite it, you should definitely grab the deluxe version and try power through it. Highlights from it include ‘Outlines,’ ‘Lost & Found,’ ‘Best Be Believing,’ ‘Body Music,’ ‘Friends to Lovers,’ and all five of the bonus songs (‘We Are Chosen,’ ‘Indestructible,’ ‘Watching Over You,’ ‘Put Up Your Hands,’ ‘B Ur Boo’).