This latest and fourth album is yet another progression in the ever evolving sound of Ladytron, and is easily their best work to date. With a more friendly and accessible sound, Velocifero may help to keep the band from the slowdive into niche. The album also boasts production assistance from Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails), which may help shed some light on the rougher feel of this album.
If you haven't yet had an introduction to the Ladytron phenomenon, you won't necessarily go wrong starting with the newest album. But to truly appreciate the versatility of the band's work, starting at the beginning with 2001's 604, and then working your way through the equally worthy Light & Magic and Witching Hour will create the more satisfying experience.
Those who were turned off by the earlier soft-around-the-edges approach might just find themselves warming to the sounds of the aptly titled Velocifero ("bringer of speed"), which backs it's pop credibility with an omnipresent rock aesthetic. This effort sees the band radiating more energy and attitude that on previous future-hip ventures, although the sterile beats and arid vocals are still there to give that spacey, ethereal quality.
"Predict The Day" sounds to have taken it's inspiration from Frida's (of ABBA fame) "I Know There's Something Going On". At first glance, "Kletva", which is a cover from an older Bulgarian children's movie, seems to faithfully return to a familiar Ladytron sound, but tosses a welcome curveball toward the end. Both "Kletva" and "Black Car" are sung in Bulgarian. "Ghosts", the first single taken from the album, has an even pulse and unexpected flourishes that's sure to be a hit. However, it's the coldly repetitive "Runaway" that stands out from the pack and is sure to be Velocifero's dark horse.
The album isn't due to release until June, but you can stream it right now on Ladytron's Myspace. It will only be available to listen for a short time, so head over there and test the waters before placing your pre-orders. (Angie Pardue)