24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A splendid, epic effort on their third outing...,
By A Customer
This review is from: Witching Hour (Audio CD)
It's been almost three years since the release of their second album 'Light & Magic' which was a minimalist yet digital-pop affair. Their tentative third album released entitled 'Witching Hour' sees Ladytron having developed their electronic sound, but still producing an album with an air of mystery.
The quartet sees Liverpudlians Danny Hunt and Reuben Wu (instrumentalists) Scottish minx Helen Marnie (lead vocalist) and Bulgaria's greatest export Mira Aroyo (instrumentalist & vocalist) take their electronic sound on this long awaited third album, to the next level.
During the Light & Magic era they had embarked on an extensive tour of the United States which they've learned a lot from, so much so that they have brought part of this influence into the studio, you may have noticed how I've used the word 'instrumentalists' this is because they have now included live bass and drums with great effect.
What grabbed me on first listen is the amount of new sounds, melodies and multi-layering that have been incorporated, from distorted reverb, buzzing synths to even a lullaby xylophone on 'The Last One Standing'. I've seen many references in other reviews of the album of it sounding like dream-pop/shoe-gazing, perhaps acknowledging bands like My Bloody Valentine or The Jesus & Mary Chain which may well be true, overall this still sounds incredibly fresh and most certainly adds something new to the arena.
One of the most dynamic interests of the band is their ability to craft lyrics with ambiguous themes into their songs. This can lead to many different interpretations. Opening tracks 'High Rise', 'Destroy Everything You Touch' and 'International Dateline' seem based around confrontation and evoke images of the Cold War - impending apocalyptic doom of bombers flying 24 hours a day on standby. Whereas tracks 'AMTV' to the beautiful ballad 'Beauty#2' deliver feelings of jinxed, jilted and frustrated relationships. Ending track 'All The Way...' come across as a complete fairy tale in a fantasy world, but after hearing the mysteriousness of centre piece 'Soft Power' you could combine all those three themes into one song. It really is left to the listener what they think the song is about...on my account doom and gloom has never sounded so sweet and epic.
Vocally both Helen and Mira deliver magnificently....Mira takes lead vocal reins on two tracks these being 'AMTV' and in her native Bulgarian on 'Fighting In Built Up Areas'....Helen seems to soar most notable on my album favourite 'WhiteLightGenerator' which is just a blissfully lush and epic track. On 'Beauty#2' Helen's vocals have an ethereal quality at first, before launching a full assault of overlapping lyrics - once it breaks down into a frenzy beat.
A highly recommended album which is pleasantly surprising as this is quite different from their previous offerings...it just proves that they have the talent to diversity their electronic sound and they shouldn't be written off as 'just a bunch of haircuts' as one ungrateful person once commented.
The album is a personal favourite and is in my top 3 of all time. E.D.