Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Ladytron, Velocifero

Ladytron is an interesting band.  The group is made up of Mira Aroyo who sings, Reuben Wu and Daniel Hunt who play keyboards and Helen Marnie who both sings and plays keyboards.  Hunt and Wu are from Liverpool, Marnie is from Glasgow, Scotland and Aroyo hails from Sofia, Bulgaria.  They attracted a lot of attention with 2002’s “Seventeen” from Light & MagicVelocifero is their fourth studio album.

The first impression you get from Ladytron is that they do dance pop driven by analog synths.  Kind of an 80s thing.  It doesn’t take Velocifero long, however, to demonstrate that Ladytron are much more than a Human League wannabe band.  Their sound is thick and more than a little dark.  The three keyboard players meld layer upon layer of electronic loops, effects and instruments into a rich stew.  This is dance music with heft. 

Bands that make electronic music often find themselves caught up on the Scylla of loops that repeat too often or crashing and sinking under the Charybdis of too many instruments and effects piled one atop the other.  Ladytron avoids both traps which is remarkable when you consider that there are three electronic musicians playing.  There sound is full and deep without being cluttered.  They also compose and play with both confidence and a high level of mastery over their instruments.  Ladytron does both live music and DJ gigs and their control of their software and electronics is masterful.  Their music is so polished it gleams. 

Ladytron’s music occupies a strange place that’s somewhere between pop songcraft and dance music.  On the one hand, their songwriting skills are well beyond those of the typical band making electronic dance music although they have some way to go to reach the level of musicians who are all about the craft of writing songs.  On the other hand they have a grasp of groove, beat and rhythm that is out of reach of many song writers.  It’s a difficult musical space to occupy and some of their songs work better than others.  It’s also a unique musical space.  They don’t sound like other bands, but I expect music critics will come to say that other bands sound like them. 

Imagine glossy black leather, polished silver chrome, gleaming black enamel, sleek, powerful, locked into a solid groove without breaking a sweat.  That’s Ladytron.  If it sounds intriguing, check Velocifero out.

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07/30/2008 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , ,

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