Track Review: AlunaGeorge – “Your Drum, Your Love”

[Island; 2012]

It’s not hard to see where this is going. Vocalist Aluna Francis and producer George Reid popped up at the beginning of the year with one of the most immediate pop cuts, still, of 2012, “You Know You Like It.” An excellent EP of the same name followed via Tri Angle in May, adding two more fantastic tracks to the duo’s arsenal. Pretty much everything was there: Reid’s deliciously sharp, left-field slog-hop production, Francis’ alluringly earthbound voice, and hook upon hook upon play-it-again-please hook. You Know You Like It is the kind of EP you have to spin twice on any given listen. The only knock worth leveling against AlunaGeorge was they still sounded tied enough to current R&B/UK bass trends to notice.

Only a month after Francis successfully turned Rustie’s “After Light” into a pop-rave banger, we get a taste of what’s to come for AlunaGeorge on the duo’s major label debut and best track yet, “Your Drum, Your Love.” Reid litters the song with a spastic, kaleidoscopic clash of watery synth tones, warped, gulping vocal samples, and jagged, bone-cracking snares. Everything hangs in a tangled matrix around a cool negative space, chopped up foamy textures zigzagging in and out of audibility and microscopic polyrhythms revving up and down at the tracks edges. Francis slips in neatly, delivering a teasing, level-headed vocal over a jerky cascade of synths and a bouncy bass tumble. Then the whole thing explodes into a creamy, all-consuming anthemic wash of a chorus. It lands with the type of irresistible immediacy only the best of pop can deliver and these guys are only on their fourth cut. Not only have all distinction issues been wiped clean and all traces of the production’s homemade-ness discarded, but this could be the cleanest, most successful marriage of major-chord radio pop and post-Untrue beat making, well, ever. Both ends of that spectrum are sharpened to the finest of points — enough to the production to wade through for hours, enough abandon to the hooks not to care. With Island at their back, AlunaGeorge are starting to look like an honest-to-god pop outfit. “Your Drum, Your Love” shows they’re more than worthy of the title.

“Your Drum, Your Love” is out October 7th via Island.