On first listen to ‘Ultraviolence’ the second album by Lana Del Rey I was pretty unimpressed gone were the big choruses of Born to Die replaced by a much more laid back tone but with each subsequent listen I was drawn back into the world created by Lizzy Grant. Because that is just what it is, a character, like Marilyn Manson or Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey is a persona and that in itself is both its strength and its weakness. Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys not only produced the record but has added some beautifully understated guitars, like the infectiously catchy work on ‘Brooklyn Baby’, it provides a perfect laid back groove for Lana’s ethereally whispered vocals. True there is no jump out singles like her debut which spawned no less than 7! But here subtlety is the key with the whole album creating a vibe and a world it inhabits. The main thing that lets the record down is Lana’s consistency to fall headlong into clichés, like a badly scripted Quentin Tarantino character we are subjected to everything from ‘he hit me and it felt like a kiss’, ‘My boyfriends in a band, he plays guitar while is sing Lou Reed, I’ve got feathers in my hair, I get down to beat poetry’ (the end later changed to ‘I get high on hydroponic weed’) ‘get a little bourbon in you’, ‘got your bible and your gun, you like woman and you like fun’ among others. See when it works it does so very well but when you’re hit round the face with another tired trope it can be very jarring. But ultimately this is what you want from the sexy springfield-esque gangster moll and in that respect we probably shouldn’t complain if she is playing up to that idea a little too much. That said it is still a darkly fun record that opens up more each time and is a solid second from a character that may not have, at one time, be seen to progress further than the sparkling debut.
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