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Sound Check

7/30/2014

La RouxLa Roux

“Trouble in Paradise”

Polydor

The title of La Roux’s sophomore studio effort is retroactively ironic, should one choose to consider the recent split — and subsequent Twitter spat — of singer Elly Jackson and producer Ben Langmaid. As such, it would appear that “Trouble in Paradise” is the last collaboration between the critically acclaimed duo. Luckily for Jackson, it’s extremely debatable as to whether or not she actually needs Langmaid. “Trouble in Paradise” is a bigger, more expressive album than La Roux’s debut, and almost all of that is thanks to Jackson’s growth as a singer. She’s found new dimensions of her own sound to exploit, and the album has a more sultry feel because of it. There’s not a single track that has the mass appeal of “Bulletproof” off the first album, but there is also less here that needs the propping up of a hit single. CV

Tom PettyTom Petty & The Heartbreakers

HIV

“Hypnotic Eye”

Reprise

Just the second Heartbreakers album in the past decade, “Hypnotic Eye” marks more of a return to the band’s crunchy, rock-infused sound after a bluesier turn on the critically ignored 2010 release, “Mojo.” This is much closer to the Heartbreakers that everyone knows and loves through the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia but still shows a nice range of sound, which keeps each song fresh. Seventh track “Forgotten Man” throws out the biggest reminder of tracks like “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and “American Girl,” while being bookended by languid, blues-tinged “Power Drunk” on one end and “Sins of My Youth” and its dreamy, warbled lyrics on the other. The album has some missteps, most notably opening track “American Dream Plan B,” which feels forced. But overall, the album is a pleasant return to form for one of the quintessential American bands. CV

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