Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Ace Of Hz
Review of Ladytron’s Gravity The Seducer and giveaway
Michele CivettaYou would be forgiven for assuming that you had Ladytron figured out. It’s all right there in last year’s career-spanning compilation The Best Of Ladytron: 00-10; the Ladytron formula. Thick synths, robotic yet danceable beats and above all, the duelling icy vocals of Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo (though the edge in detachedness usually went to Aroyo on account of her stern Bulgarian accent). It’s a sound that was perfectly in style when that which they called “electroclash” crested in the early part of the century but managed to outstay the band’s peers thanks to their ability to marry fashion with pop songs that had genuine staying power; four albums of sleek, space-age synth-pop is nothing to shake a stick at.
So it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect more of the same from their fifth album, the just-released Gravity The Seducer, and indeed the elements at play are familiar, but something feels fundamentally different this time out. It took a few listens to put a finger on what, but what it sounds like is that Ladytron are sad. Gravity dials back the dancefloor bangers that punctuated previous efforts in favour of crafting a unified atmosphere whose prevailing mood is beautifully melancholic, the synths and beats working more towards a dreampop vibe than a krautrock one. To this end, Marnie gets more lead vocal turns than usual and Aroyo’s contributions are more emotive than usual, and a greater emphasis placed on crafting emotionally resonant melodies. Further, there are no less than three instrumentals out of the album’s twelve, the closing number “Aces High” a reprise of sorts to single and perhaps theme song “Ace Of Hz”, that bridge and tie together the album and contribute to its cinematic feel.
I’m not sure other writeups on the record have picked up on this, or if I’m imagining it, but to these ears Gravity sounds like a band taking advantage of a fresh chapter to reorient themselves creatively – not dramatically, but still enough to be noteworthy and to force the listener to approach it with fresh ears. Or it could just be another Ladytron record, equal parts steely, sexy and stoic, but even if so that’s hardly any bad thing.
The whole of the album is available to stream right now at Pitchfork and Ology has an interview with Daniel Hunt. Ladytron are at The Phoenix on October 5, tickets $20 in advance, but courtesy of Embrace I have two pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to be Seduced by Gravity” in the subject line and your full name in the body; contest closes at midnight, September 27.
USA Today has a profile and NPR and The Alternate Side sessions with Laura Marling, who is at The Great Hall on September 23 in support of her new album A Creature I Don’t Know; a short film for the album has also just been released.
The Quietus has the video for the title track of The Ship’s Piano, out October 17. There’s also a link to sign up for their newsletter and receive an MP3 of the tune. Artrocker has an interview with the former Hefner frontman.
That a new Florence & The Machine record was coming this Fall was already a matter of fact; now Exclaim has the final missing details, specifically that it will be called Ceremonials and be out on October 31 in the UK, presumably but not guaranteed to be out in North America the following day. Update: And a new song from the album is up to stream.
The Guardian has premiered the new video from Summer Camp, a clip which was available to pledge supporters of their debut Welcome To Condale a few months ago but is now up for all to see. It’s out in North America on November 8.
Interview does their thing with The Kooks; their new album Junk Of The Heart is out now and they’re at The Sound Academy on November 23. The Sun also has an interview and they’ve also released a video for the album’s title track.
New Anna Calvi video, y’all. She’s at Lee’s Palace on December 8.
Video: Anna Calvi – “Suzanne & I”
Video: The Big Pink – “Stay Gold”
Rolling Stone and The San Francisco Examiner talk to Patrick Wolf about his brief, acoustic solo US tour. He’s planning a full band excursion over here in 2012 when Lupercalia is released domestically.
Kate Bush has turned rumour into fact and announced a November 21 release for her new studio album 50 Words For Snow, her first in six years and second in the last 17.
Tags: Anna Calvi, Big Pink, Darren Hayman, Doves, Florence & The Machine, Jimi Goodwin, Joy Formidable, Kate Bush, Kooks, Ladytron, Laura Marling, Noah & The Whale, Noel Gallagher, Patrick Wolf, Peggy Sue, Primal Scream, Slow Club, Subways, Suede, Summer Camp, Vaccines, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Yuck