It has been nearly a decade since we have heard from British Electro-Pop outfit Ladytron, who last delivered new material with 2011’s Gravity the Seducer. For their sixth go-round, they deliver the eponymous Ladytron on Friday, February 15, 2019, via !K7 Label Services.
When you can call Brian Eno a member of your fandom, then you’re doing something right. Formed in Liverpool, England, in 1999, Ladytron first cast their musical spell with their 2001 debut, 604. Continuing with 2002’s Light & Magic, 2005’s Witching Hour, 2008’s Velocifero and the aforementioned Gravity the Seducer, the group have established themselves as possessing keen Pop sensibilities and a fiercely experimental edge. Known for their glorious remixes and sonic diversity, Ladytron — Helen Marnie (lead vocals, synthesizers), Mira Aroyo (vocals, synthesizers), Daniel Hunt (synthesizers, guitar, vocals) and Reuben Wu (synthesizers) — are masters of their craft.
For their eponymous sixth release, the quartet aim to distill twenty years of experimentation into one truly hyper-charged collection. Pushing Electronic Pop boundaries to weave invigorating directions that explore and coalesce into a cohesive soundscape, Ladytron radiates aesthetic. And for this, the group enlisted the help of feature guest artist Igor Cavalera (Sepultura, Mixhell, Soulwax) on drums.
Ladytron opens to the muffled layers of fuzzy rocker “Until the Fire,” where Marnie’s angelic vocals take a backseat to the wall of sound. This marches onward triumphantly for nearly six-minutes before fading out and being reborn as “The Island,” a delicious Synthpop number that goes heavy on the synths and sounds like the perfect soundtrack to an ‘80s teen Caribbean escapade. This is the alternate persona of Ladytron: melodically infectious, gently-swaying, nostalgia-inducing Synthpop, or Dream Pop, if you prefer.
Synths like electronic bells echo into the saccharine sweetness of “Tower of Glass,” a steady bop that paves the way for the dip into the crepuscular glitter of “Far from Home.” Part Sci-Fi dusted Future Pop and part David Lynch’s Lost Highway, “Paper Highways” goes dark yet spacey, haunting yet upbeat. Meanwhile, the synthwork that anchors “The Animals” is seductive and gothically entrancing while perfectly painting the track’s moody The Birthday Massacre meets Mazzy Star tone.
A deeply sweeping soundscape, the soporific “Run” is a lull into aural submission, which is flawlessly contrasted by the electronic tiptoe of the dancey beats of “Deadzone.” The witchy and bespelling synths continue with the atmospheric “Figurine,” then the intensity continues into the pulsating dance-floor grinder “You’ve Changed.”
An oddly dissonant collection of sounds combine to author “Horrorscope,” shifting the mood away from danceable beats to something much more quirky yet somber. This is apparent in the cinematic soundscape of “The Mountain,” a clear stand-out among the collection. They end with the moody, ominous tones of “Tomorrow Is Another Day,” another filmic feeling that would be perfectly suited for the silver screen.
Ladytron features hits (“Figurine,” “The Mountain”) and misses (“Horrorscope”), but above all things it sets a mood. With their trademark blend of synthesizers, Marnie’s affectless vocals, and expansive cinemascapes that will make you dance and feel, Ladytron provide exactly what one would expect on their self-titled sixth release — and that is likely why it’s proudly eponymous. Aurally entrancing and full of moments that will make you embrace the sway, this is a collection with an aesthetic that is entirely what Ladytron fans have been waiting for. To make a very bad joke: if you wanted them when they were 17, you can still love them at 21. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock give Ladytron’s Ladytron 4 of 5 stars.