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Music Review: Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke (Special Edition)

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Filled with enough pop hooks to keep a disco burning all night long, Ladyhawke’s self-titled debut gets a snazzy reissue with five extra songs presented alongside the dazzling 12-song set from its original release. It’s a power pop lover’s bonanza, a veritable buffet of electro-hooks sure to move even the most stubborn feet.

The New Zealand singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist takes her cues from the likes of Pat Benatar, Blondie and Cyndi Lauper but manages to sound ultimately current without a single hint of irony.

Ladyhawke, whose real name is Pip Brown, saw the initial release of her 2008 debut go gold in the United Kingdom and Australia. Press raved about her confidence and sharpness, while fans from all over ate up the highly danceable cuts like Skittles.

While other artists borrow from the glitz and glam of the '80s to formulate their sounds, Ladyhawke has a legitimacy that springs out of a lifelong commitment to music and a true understanding of the craft. She pumps out the jams without airs, infusing songs with the right amounts of yearning and merriment to concoct the perfect blend of maddening disco cool.

The record opens with “Magic,” a pulsating jam with spiraling notes and hand claps in all the right places. It’s an epic number and Ladyhawke’s vocals drive it home. Her use of repetition and slinky follow-throughs creates a fog of sexiness that’s hard to resist.

“Back of the Van” opens with pressed synth and a beat ripped right out of one of the countless '80s dance movies, yet it never ventures into tacky territory. Instead, Brown unleashes a sense of desire that calls to mind memories of what could have been on that momentous, sweaty-palmed night after the prom.

Other cuts carry similar themes, like the lush and gorgeous “Crazy World” or the funky and sweet “Love Don’t Live Here.”

The bonus cuts showcase more of Ladyhawke’s talent. “Oh My” is a disco-ready anthem originally found on the U.K. release as a bonus track, while acoustic versions of “Paris is Burning,” “Dusk Till Dawn,” and “My Delirium” add texture and glow to the overall presentation.

With an upcoming U.S. tour set to hit the ground, Ladyhawke’s prospects for international success are certainly looking good. She’s a complete performer, invoking a beautiful sense of longing in conjunction with electrifying dance tracks that go beyond simple imitations of an era. This re-release of her debut is the perfect opportunity to brush up on those dance moves.

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