All the retreads of the disastrous MTV dominated decade of music – Alphabeat, Santogold, Black Kids and the mysterious internet meme that is Rick Astley have been getting pretty tiring. In fact, the 80s were up there on my list of stuff I hate – suits, genocide and famine. But somehow Pip Brown’s album manages to break out of the cheddar stylings (boring and cheesy) of the rest of the pack. For one thing, even though her lyrics aren’t complex or poetic in a Magnetic Fields way, they’re much more sharp and straightforward than most, like the ‘you’re so completely twisted; you’re so completely evil’ on ‘Manipulating Woman,’ proving Asperger syndrome can be kind of helpful. Then there’s the actual music – as retro as everyone says it is, it still has something original and contemporary about it, not at all like unearthing a rotten musical corpse *cough, Alphabeat, cough*. As much as there is to love about the album, from the intense electro-stomp of opener ‘Magic’ to the catchy but not sellout singles ‘Paris Is Burning’ and ‘Dusk Till Dawn,’ it’s not absolutely perfect. There are a few same-y moments, especially because of the overuse of the intro from Van Halen’s Jump (‘Another Runaway’ and ‘Back of the Van’) which isn’t helped by all the songs being in the mid-tempo range.
Still, with addictive riffs that’ll get you dancing without the aid of alcohol no matter how badly coordinated you are, Ladyhawke’s album shows how much you can do with some synthesisers and a little bit of autism.
Standout Track: My Delirium, or maybe Dusk Till Dawn