Ladytron comfortably reside in the current pantheon of electronica gods. If you haven’t heard of them, then you are likely unfamiliar with the genre. The quartet are mainstays of college radio and independent stations; they have a large and dedicated fanbase that regularly sing their praises.
One of the things the band is most known for is their electronic manipulation of analog instrumentation, resulting in a sound that is different from your typical electronica creations. That remains a key element on the new album, Velocifero.
Vocalists Mira Aroyo and Helena Marnie (who also plays keyboards) provide their characteristic and complementary vocals on the album, which features two songs sung in Aroyo’s native Bulgarian. One of those songs, “Black Cat,” takes the lead, setting the intent of the album to be something more than you have heard before, yet still familiar and accessible to casual fans. The song adds layers up on layers of loops that eventually become the solid foundation upon which the lyrics are delivered as slightly monotone spoken-word with a vocal melody in the background of what I assume is the chorus.
The second track is the album’s lead single, “Ghost,” and it’s easy to hear why that was chosen. The song’s pulsating beat and repetitive chorus are addictive and likely to be club favorites. “I’m Not Scared” follows with a relentless grind and power rock chords that touches the musical soul and compels the listener to crank up the volume a little bit more. With the attitude and energy level of the album set within the first few tracks, the band takes a moment to give the listener a breather before launching back in with the electronic wave assault prevalent in most of the rest of the tracks.
The US release comes as a digipak, with a six panel folded insert that contains the band’s thanks and the full artwork from the cover. Very little additional information — including lyrics or detailed credits — is included. The focus of the packaging is on the art and the music, which I respect, but as one of those music geeks that likes to know more about who made the work and how they did it, the lack of information both in the package and on the band’s website is a bit disappointing.
I’m not a Ladytron fangirl. My past familiarity with them is second and third hand, having listened to a track or two on college radio over the years, as well as several bands who cite them as an influence.
However, I can tell you with some authority that Velocifero is an electro-pop/rock album you don’t want to miss.