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Music Review: Ladytron – Velocifero

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Liverpool’s Ladytron is back with Velocifero, a corker of an electro-pop-dance album.

Using an assortment of vintage analogue equipment, Ladytron is able to capture a unique sound and splice electronic music and basic pop-rock song structures to create addictive melodies.

Comprised of Helen Marnie, Daniel Hunt, Mira Aroyo, and Reuben Wu, the group has won legions of fans through far-reaching touring and gobs of remixes of tracks by Nine Inch Nails, Soft Cell, Placebo, and many more.

With Velocifero, the band’s fourth studio album, Ladytron has slimmed things down somewhat and has produced a more undemanding electro-pop record. While 2005’s Witching Hour marked a creative high point, this 2008 release is more accessible and less experimental than most of their previous work.

Most of Velocifero seems perfectly at home in dark dance clubs accented by flashing neon lights and perspiring bodies circling and grinding to the pulsating beats and devastatingly hip electronic backdrops. Some of it ventures beyond the touchstone dance texture, however, and plays with a sense of coarseness.

While Velocifero is certainly more conventional than some of Ladytron’s previous releases, it still contains some of the boundary-pushing approach that has made the band a success.

Two songs are sung in Bulgarian (“Black Cat” and “Klevta,” the latter a cover from a 1972 Bulgarian children’s movie), highlighting the Liverpoolians’ sense of culture.

The lead-off single, “Ghosts,” is a rhythmic club popper that is as bold as it is contagious. The vocals whirl over the gush of keys and beats in the background and the melody is outrageously entrancing.

Velocifero may well be Ladytron’s most listenable record to date, as its wall-to-wall melodies stay close to home and remain safely in the comfort zone for most fans of electro-pop acts.

The industrial snap of “Predict the Day” is balanced by a whistle and Alessandro Cortini‘s (Nine Inch Nails) edgy production assistance. The anthemic “Tomorrow” and the elegant “Venture” make perfect closing tracks for Velocifero, exemplifying the journey of sound and closing things down as the lights come up.

Ladytron’s latest may well prove the band’s most popular release to date. Tempered squarely with sturdy melodies and danceable beats, Velocifero is the band’s most accessible work. It still plays with the tougher edges of electro-pop in some moments, but overall this release is soft candy.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Nice review Jordan. I’m not real big on club music myself, but any band that crosses Nine Inch Nails and Soft Cell certainly sounds intriguing enough to warrant further investigation.

    -Glen

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    “Ghosts” is not only contagious, it’s also kind of haunting…

  • Blue Buddha

    For me this album ist the lowest end of Ladytron’s musical carrier. While the ablum ‘604’ was an electro-pop gemstone and ‘light and magic’ could even exceed it with some added coolness, 2005’s ‘Witching Hour’ started to shift the band’s sound towards more rough direction (noisy guitars), but due to great songwriting this album still managed to impress me. But ‘Velocifer’ is just lame. I really wanted to love this album but after listening to it 10-15 times on myspace I decided not to get it on CD because it’d just represent extra weight if I’d move to a new house.