Album review: Ladytron – Ladytron

Ladytron - Ladytron album cover

Borrowing heavily from new wave, 80s synth and a touch of 90s rave, Ladytron return after more than seven years with an incessantly catchy collection of electro-pop tunes that have that special something about them – in most places.

The self-titled Ladytron album takes a little time to hit its stride with Until the Fire enjoyable enough but failing to develop as much as you might anticipate. Conversely single from last year The Island, featuring huge 80s-style synths, manages to build just at the right moment to avoid you losing interest in the track.

Things get significantly better after this point with Tower of Glass, a catchy head-nodder with some intricate organ work and the vocals of lead vocalist Helen Marnie standing out in particular.

The upward trend continues with Far From Home, which starts off a little Human League but that addictive synth track and pop beat end up taking you somewhere else entirely.

Highlight of the album for me was Deadzone, which employs some great vocal structures and layers of atmospherics against an uptempo beat, building to a delicious crescendo.

At 13 tracks and 53 minutes long, this album isn’t exactly of epic length, but it did feel that the last few tracks could have been trimmed and you would not have noticed the difference. Had the album stopped with the moreish You’ve Changed everybody would be left very happy. As it is Horrorscope, The Mountain and Tomorrow is Another Day have some noticeable moments but feel a little laboured.

Bar that, this is a fabulous album and well worth listening to the first 10 tracks at least.

Release date: 15 February 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: Deadzone

For fans of:

  • Goldfrapp
  • Boy Harsher
  • Gwenno

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2018 Music Review – March

After the relative famine of February comes a bountiful feast in March. I could quite easily have made of top 50 of great albums released this month. There’s no place in my list for the reformed and revitalised Breeders, despite a strong effort. No room either for the soulful voice of South African trailblazer Nakhane, the laid back R&B licks of Ty, the all out alt-rock of Turbowolf (yes, it sounds exactly like you think it would), the shoegaze glory of Air Formation or the fuzzy indie-stomp of Cabbage. There’s not even a place for one of my all-time favourite artists, Biosphere – but then if you will make an album largely consisting of farm machinery noises tit risks being quite divisive.

So what did make it into the top 10? Surprisingly, an act as traditionally bluesy as its possible to get made a big impression on me. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite‘s No Mercy in this Land is a classic piece of harmonica and electric guitar blues rock, that will get your toes tapping and put a smile on your face.

Less surprising was the arctic-inspired techno of Molecule. This type of sparse beat-driven dance music was my bread and butter back in the day.

Gwenno‘s Cornish-language pop odyssey Le Kov has shades of St. Ettienne to it, while remaining truly unique.

Special shout out to veteran industrial metal outfit Ministry. This is the first time I’d come across them since the early nineties and their album AmeriKKKant, is a not-very-subtle attack on Trump’s America, but no less enjoyable for it.

Rolo Tomassi‘s Math-rock opus Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It is an excellent way to get your fix of delicate female vocals laced with death-metal growling. It’s even more pleasing to know both sounds are coming from the same vocalist.

A quick mention for the R&B stylings of Young Fathers and The Skull Eclipses, who did their very best to warm me to a musical genre that has largely passed me by.

Perhaps it should be no surprise that I’m a big fan of Demob Happy, being that the band formed in their hometown of Newcastle before moving to Brighton. Their album Holy Doom lands them somewhere between late-era Beatles, Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age. Initially it took me a while to warm to this album but I adore it now.

The album that finally got me to rethink my view on jazz is Sons of Kemet‘s Your Queen is a Reptile. In some ways to call it jazz does it a disservice. It’s as groove laden, incessant and addictive as any electronic dance music band. The Tuba and drums lay down a wicked rhythm section that just does not quit, while the sax and clarinet take you to a higher plain. Utterly brilliant.

However, it wasn’t quite as brilliant as Slow Sundown from Holy Motors. This Estonian band deliver some beautiful languid guitars that invoke the feel of a relaxed desert road trip. Imagine David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino had decided to rent themselves a Cadillac and cross Death Valley and your getting somewhere close to this haunting piece of joy.

Top 10 March 2018

1: Holy Motors – Slow Sundown

Standout track: Sleeprydr

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2: Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile

Standout track: My Queen is Doreen Lawrence

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3: Demob Happy – Holy Doom

Standout track: Runnin’ Around

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4: The Skull Eclipses – The Skull Eclipses

Standout track: Take My

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5: Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar

Standout track: Wow

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6: Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It

Standout track: The Hollow Hour

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7: Ministry – AmeriKKKant

Standout track: Twilight Zone

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8: Gwenno – Le Kov

Standout track: Den Heb Taves

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9: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite – No Mercy in This Land

Standout track: The Bottle Wins Again

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10: Molecule – -22.7°C

Standout track: Délivrance

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