on 5 June 2012
After one of the most sensational debut albums in recent years it's been quite a wait for this follow up, and the big question is, does it live up to it's illustrious predecessor? Well breathe a collective sigh of relief, because the answer is an emphatic 'yes'...and then some! Pip Brown, along with co-writer/performer/producer Pascal Gabriel, have once again delivered a truly sublime slice of thumping pop rock!
The enjoyable opening track 'Girl Like Me' has touches of T.Rex which leads to us to think that Pip is about to take us on a contemporary musical journey through the 70's in a similar fashion as she did with the 80's throughout the self titled first album. Indeed the excellent next track 'Sunday Drive' sounds much like a holdover from that first album, so no disappointment there then. The following tracks settle into a steady string of driving baselines and catchy lyrics - 'Black White & Blue', 'Vaccine', Blue Eyes' and 'Vanity' all top notch numbers increasingly cementing a sound not so much `80's' but simply 'Ladyhawke'. 'The Quick & the Dead' is a slightly darker number, but still in keeping with the album feel, as is the title track where Pip mixes a light, punchy score with some slightly more deeper lyrical content.
Then just when you think things are ticking away nicely into the final stretch comes an absolute show stopper - the beautiful, amazing, fantastic 'Cellophane', a standout track on what is a standout album.
'Gone Gone Gone' completes the album listing (another great track which could easily have featured on the previous album) but that's not the final number -'Human', a 'hidden' track, follows a minute or two later, and for a literal bonus it's up there with the rest of the proceedings.
I'd say that as a whole 'Anxiety' works slightly better than 'Ladyhawke', the tempo is better executed across the entire duration of the album. There's also a more mature sound to this offering, without sacrificing the youthful enthusiasm so abundant on the last album.
The very fact that you'll even be considering if 'Anxiety' is as good as, or even better than 'Ladyhawke' just goes to show how truly awesome this album is!
Thanks to Pip and Pascal for another wonderful collection of superb pop rock, can't wait for the third album release!
on 17 June 2012
Just took delivery of 'Anxiety' and listening to it for the second time. A very, very good album! Struggling to pick a fave track - loving 'Black, White & Blue', 'Blue Eyes', 'Vanity', 'The Quick & The Dead', 'Cellophane' ... !! Sadly too many promising acts peak on their first album and then struggle. Happily for us and Ladyhawke, this album is great and in my opinion even better than the first. Agree with other reviewers that the first was obviously 80s influenced with its Numan-esque synths, but this one skips forward a few years and draws more on the styles and sounds of the mid-90s. When I hear this album I close my eyes and I am at uni again in 1994, and can almost hear Elastica, Sleeper and Garbage in it while still reminining typically Ladyhawke, with her breathy vocals and melodic tunes with an undercurrent of barely-restrained electronic synth power and distorted guitars. Good work, looking forward to listening to it again when it finishes in about 5 mins .... Thank you Ladyhawke for reaffirming my faith in unique, talented and real modern musicians amongst too many soundalike plastic pop 'stars'! Now how's that third album coming along ....? ;)
on 4 June 2012
Anxiety is a very good follow up album to her self titled first album. Filled with some catchy tunes on it that make sure they stand out in your head. The album is very "pop rocky" and a bit grittier than her first one, some might say it may have a bit more of a masculine feel to it. None the less, if you are a ladyhawke fan, get this album. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
on 19 September 2012
It was always going to be difficult to follow her acclaimed first album, perhaps thats where the anxiety in the title comes from! Admittedly, this CD slightly lacks the catchy riffs of the first, but compensates for this with a more driven sound. She rocks out a bit more on this album, more drums and guitars, some will like it and some will not but personally I love it. Anxiety has infectious energy and driving enthusiasm, the songs are a little darker and edgier, but still with that distinctive voice and singing style. All the songs on here are worthwhile, my personal favourite being Vaccine which mixes energy with great harmonies. Overall I think she deserves credit for not coming up with an imitation of her first album, you cannot accuse her of resting on her laurels. Ladyhawke rocks out on this one but without losing her unique musical style. In Anxiety she serves up a potent musical cocktail of energetic yet reflective songs, which draws me back in to listen repeatedly. PS I found the production on this very good although others disagree it seems!
on 28 June 2012
Looked forward to this coming out as Ladyhawke's original album is one of my all time favourites - a bit rocky, a bit chilled... fantastic (and if you haven't got it, I suggest you get it) [...]
This album avoids that difficult 2nd album issue that lots of artists have, managing to feel both a little retro, but also very modern in sound, and I think will be played regularly.
Favourite tracks are probably...
Girl like me
The Quick and the Dead
on 12 June 2012
Ladyhawke's first album was a inventive and affectionate nod to the 80s. In the process Pip Brown gave us some memorable tunes that grew on you with each listening. This is very much her 90s album, but it simply doesn't grab you in the same way. Rather than sounding like a tribute to 90s music, it just sounds dated. This is Ladyhawke does Garbage, 15 years too late.
You can appreciate what she is trying to do, and if this had been more of the same from the first album she would have been criticised for being stuck in the 80s. But I was hoping for her to take the same sound further, rather than this change of direction.
That's not to say it's a poor album. It has some good tracks, and a good production. If you liked Garbage, you'll like this. That's no small recommendation as Garbage were a great band in their time. But a 90s sound-alike is not much to get excited about in 2012. A bit of a disappointment after an outstanding debut.
on 8 June 2012
First of all, I absolutely love the first album, it never gets old, and each melodic track incorporates so much emotion in a "Pink Cellophane" sort of manner. I was anticipating this new release and after hearing Black, White & Blue earlier this year I didn't know what to think, for one, the track is far too loud, when it would come on shuffle on my 2012 playlist, the moment it starts it is instantly louder than the rest of the tracks out this year, even though the intro is quite subtle! Compressed so much there is absolutely no dynamics... this would result in the song being skipped due to the volume boost being too much of a shock to my ears. After giving the track the time of day it eventually grew on me, because the remixes on the EP allowed me to experience the melodies in a new way.
Anyway, after giving this album several spins this week I noticed that the latest single "Sunday Drive" suffers from quite an obvious amount of crackles in the first 15 seconds, a case of too much compression and bad mastering? Although it is one of my favourite tracks on the album I am just left wondering why is this album so much louder than anything I am currently listening to that was released this year?
The album does flow rather well, but this is basically because each track has exactly the same plug-ins... the drums, bass, guitar and vocals have the same sound throughout, which I guess is expected from a rock album, but there are times where I wonder if Pip is using the same melodies on numerous tracks throughout the album. On first listen I was pretty bored, only a few tracks stood out, and this is still the case.
Pip mentioned in an interview that this album was purely guitar, some organs and no synths... well, there are synths on this album (not as distinguished as they were on her first album) so I don't know why she said there isn't, unless the delay in the album release was due to adding these synths.
Something that bugs me too is the fact that the the standard version of the album only includes 10 tracks, 36 minutes running... I think the digital bonus track "Human" is one of the better songs on the album and should have been included... well I guess some sort of bonus was required for iTunes.
I know I've been pretty negative about this album, I will say that "Sunday Drive", "Anxiety", "Cellophane", "Gone, Gone, Gone" are really good tracks that are a welcome addition to Ladyhawke's discography but there is just something that this album doesn't deliver that the first album does, and I think it might be due to lack of that nostalgic feeling that the first album has (coming from a 26 year old), there isn't much poppy memorable moments on this album that make me want to play the songs on repeat, and never get tired off.
I'll still listen to the album, I'm sure it'll get better after more listens but after listening to it several times this week this is generally how I feel about Anxiety... maybe the drastic change in sound is a shock to the system... but I can't ignore the dire mastering on this album which has resulted in an overly loud album, with crackles coming out of all of my speakers, and the lack of dynamics...
Overall, 4 years later, not really worth anticipating...
on 4 June 2012
The debut album from Ladyhawke back in 2008 went for the slightly risky 80s pop/rock sound, but it paid off.....big time!
Well, she is back four years on with her follow up release "Anxiety". But the 80s sound has gone and has been replaced with a completely new sound. This time around Ladyhawke appears to have been inspired by the mid 90s "Britpop" era, which for me is a very good thing.
Her debut album was stuffed full of truly great catchy melodies built around layers of synths. Well, the synths have all but gone, and have been replaced by thumping drums, dirty bass and fuzzy guitars. Don't be fooled by the idea of this change, because the songs are still as infectious as before, if not even more so this time around. As much as I love the debut album, "Anxiety" has far more depth than its predecessor.
When listening to "Anxiety", you can only assume that Ladyhawke has been taking in the likes of Garbage, Sleeper, Elastica, Echobelly, Supergrass etc. I can also hear nods to The Breeders and Beck in there too. Don't get me wrong, this album doesn't sound dated at all, it manages to sound retro, but modern at the same time.
The end result is 40 minutes of infectious brilliance. So yes, it is a different world to her debut album, but all that shows is that she doesn't want to stick to just one sound and become stale. Artists should always be praised for wanting to evolve, and Ladyhawke has been brave enough to do that.
It sounds like an old cliche, but what makes this album work so well is the quality of the songs. All brilliantly constructed, she really does have an effortless knack for creating great hooks and addictive catchy tunes.
To pick the best tracks is very difficult. But if pushed these are my favs....
"The Quick & The Dead"
Look, not everyone is going to understand this album. If I am being totally honest, there will be some people who loved the first Ladyhawke album, with its somewhat safer sound, who will just not get this album at all. This album could end up being somewhat like marmite! For me though, I love "Anxiety" with its bigger and heavier sound and dirtier edge. It really is like an assault on your ears! I happen to love that, and it sounds even better when you play it loud!!
Open up your ears and enjoy!! :)
on 3 February 2016
This is a great album with a range of catchy songs. She still has a great voice and I would say I prefer this to her first album overall. I believe the release of the album was delayed due to production problems and you cant hear this on one or two songs which is why it has got 4 stars instead of 5. Perhaps a bit harsh but I hope this doesnt cause Pip any anxiety!
on 27 December 2015
Another great album, I was very fond of the first one and she's maintained the great rock/electro/refugee from the 80s time traveled forward to bring us good music sound she started off with. The pace is a lot faster with this album though, lots of energy behind each track. Great album.