Album: You Like You Like It EP
Release Date: 20/4/2012
2012's most Anti- R'n'B R'n'B release
If you’d asked anybody in 2005 whether they thought that in a few years’ time there would a healthy bunch of artists churning an innovative, sometimes challenging take on R’n’b, the chances are that 98% of music critics would have scoffed and quashed your suggestion and told you that you ever did have the intention of something like that happening, you’d have to do it yourself.
Such knee- jerk cynicism is customary in the world of music fandom, but it’s the type of reaction that’s almost always proved wrong. Ruling things out is a dangerous thing to do, and the emergence, talent and success of artists like Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and even Drake is testament to the idea that even in the most seemingly mundane of scenes, innovators can not only exist, but accomplish as well.
Although AlunaGeorge certainly aren’t offering a style of r’n’b that incorporates 20 minute drones or chainsaw guitars (that needs to happen one day!), there’s plenty of room for their dynamic and aesthetic, brought to the fore in a rather missionary statement on the short but effervescently sweet “You Know You Like It” EP. George’s production is not overblown or aggressive, but it certainly contains a wealth of ideas. “You Know You Like It” is unashamedly soft, sensual and reflective but also outwardly groovy. “Just a Touch” is slightly more conventional given the R’n’B context, but the layers of tropical lushness brought in on the chorus add large bites of flavour. “Put Up Your Hands” sees the pace quicken again in an almost robotic but memorably melodic style, like a more understated Grimes.
More emotive though is the performance of Aluna. Vocally she subscribes to the Grimes school of thought in that interesting is better. Her vocals are rather childlike, but not in an obnoxious way. They’re as smooth as they are robust. Her lack of breathy sensation often indulged in by r’n’b singers is given even more prevalence when you take the lyrics into consideration.
In many ways, “You Know You Like It” is a very anti- r’n’b piece of work. It’s cold hearted. It pushes away any notion of love, sex or excess, an entire dimension away from the ramblings of The Weeknd or Usher. “I’m not hard as a rock, I’m just not easy to break/ But don’t take that as an invitation to try” she coos in the opening line of “Just a Touch.” On “Put Up Your Hands” it gets even less enticing as she sings “You won’t get nothing from me/ Baby don’t look back to me.”
At only three songs long, “You know You Like It” makes any judgement or prediction of success seem completely pre-emptive. However, a penchant for explosive hooks and lyricism that is consciously valuable (certainly a rare thing in mainstream r’n’b) both show a large portion of potency within Alunageorge that is bursting to be realized. Here’s to hoping that said potency is fully utilized on their debut full- length next year.
Download: 1) Just a Touch 2) Put Your Hands Up