We banged on Ladyhawke's - Pip Brown's - van window after her gig at Kerrang! radio Birmingham. She opened the door, chatted about New Zealand, her musical influences, and what it was like playing with an acoustic band (which she'd just done) compared to the album and to her electric band. What an amazingly nice lady! It must be the New Zealand background.
Anyway, this is an album that keeps suggesting a particular '80s influence to you at the beginning of a track, and then going off somewhere completely different. Crazy World, for example, always makes me think Cyndi Lauper is about to kick in, but only for a moment, while Professional Suicide makes me think straight away of Soft Cell. Once you get into the songs, though, more than anything, it reminds me of Suzanne Vega's 99.9 F°
industrial album, especially on Paris is Burning. Ladyhawke brings a particular intensity to the music by playing all the instruments herself.
What's especially interesting to me is that although the tracks on this album sound very much like the synth-pop of the 80s, especially Morning Dreams and Better Than Sunday, the influences she told me about at the van were all rock: David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, ELO, among others. Live, with an acoustic band, you can really hear that. "You should do an album with that band" I said. "Yeah", she replied, "maybe I should." I hope she does. She strikes me as someone who will really blossom in the creative tension of a recording band, which will take her away from the occasionally over-rhythmic drum-machine sound.
Anyway, this is a superb album, and one that's worth owning just to be able to say 'I was there at the beginning'. Ladyhawke is certain to go on to bigger and better things. Don't get me wrong -- this one is good. But the next one is going to explode with more.