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Album review: Ladyhawke – Anxiety

  Thursday 31st May 2012

I always seem to shy away from synths and self-proclaimed revolutionary pop stars. I just don’t really get on with the whole concept of electro, but here, I stand well and truly corrected. Ladyhawke’s new album Anxiety is fantastic.

After nearly four years since her last LP, Ladyhawke (aka Pip Brown) has produced a well-crafted album of the same chart-worthy quality.

After nearly four years since her last LP, Ladyhawke (aka Pip Brown) has produced a well-crafted album of the same chart-worthy quality.

The album is the follow-up to her 2008 self-titled debut and was originally due to be released on 19th March. After nearly four years since her last LP, Ladyhawke (aka Pip Brown) has produced a well-crafted album of the same chart-worthy quality. It is a secure recipe for a hit record. With the success of her 2008 single My Delirium, the New Zealand songstress is here to show she is not just a one hit wonder, as her new album proves.  Ladyhawke, with her sulky demeanour, has hit gold again. Not many artists can achieve this consistency of monumental records, but then again not many pop women take their stage name from a 1980s fantasy film either.

The production is manicured and glossy, juxtaposed with the unrefined vocals that Brown can’t help but exude. The lyrics are delivered in an almost monotone 80s fashion. Brown’s voice rings out with the same coquettishness that shimmered in the tones of Debbie Harry. It is sultry and alluring, with power and control. 

Anxiety is bold, strange and brimming with melodic, dramatic songs. The 1980s influences she fronts on tracks such as Sunday Drive and Vaccine gyrate confusingly between the appropriated, clubby electro-pop of Vanity and The Quick And The Dead.   The result is a complicated message that offers a meld of glitzy choruses as well as dated synthesiser riffs which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it seems.

Black White and Blue, the first single from Anxiety has been available for download since 19th February. The music video is inspired by the classic 1978 film The Life Of Laura Mars. Black White and Blue is a striking insight into what Brown’s music is all about: memorable melodies couched in an aura of bitter-sweet synth-drenched melody. A warm, electro-fuelled heart sings deep within a body of more-than-just-pastiche revivalism. It seems that Brown is pushing all the right retro buttons.  

Highlights on this contagious, beat packed album include Girl Like Me and Gone Gone Gone. The retro influences are thrust into your face, but she has captured all the best bits of these influences and distilled them into something fresh. Hook -laden choruses and chirpy upbeat tweets take the 80s dance scene and mould their reputable credentials into an exciting modernisation that screams top-pop excitement. 

Anxiety musically glistens and is truly a piece in itself and shines with glorious accomplishment – an intelligent pop album that covers the all too familiar territory of going out of your mind. A punchy, well thought out record that displays Brown’s ability to keep true to her musical roots.

Songs like Black White and Blue and Blue Eyes defy modern pop’s building blocks and far from conform to any sort of commercial regime, but in some obscure realm they have the potency and power to take over the charts, one by one.

Verdict: ••••

Naomi Couper

Standout track: Black White and Blue

Watch the video for Black White and Blue here


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