Light & Magic
Out now on Emperor Norton
The latest installment of the '80s electro revival comes from U.K.-based quartet Ladytron, whose new album "Light & Magic" is the follow-up to last year's debut "604." Ladytron are a talented troop of urbanites spanning Liverpool (Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu), Glasgow (Helen Marnie) and Sofia, Bulgaria (Mira Aroyo).
All four members play keyboards -- Marnie is a classically trained pianist -- but it's Hunt and Wu's clever beats and fastidious melodies that lend the group their signature sound. Drum machines and synths blend seamlessly with bits and pieces of New Wave castoffs, Chicago house and international disco. Sounds squeak, pop and disappear, roboto inflections intone foreign-language mantras, and electric alerts give way to driving beats.
Ladytron belong to a genre whose proprietors are as likely to be deejaying by the runways during Fashion Week as digging through bargain record bins. In disaffected tones befitting catwalks, Marnie and Aroyo sing about blue jeans with "straight lines that cut through the seat like you want them to." However, they also take a knowing wink at the cruelty of the fashion industry's obsessions, singing, "They only want you when you're 17/ When you're 21 you're no fun." The final product is extremely tight, a dynamic musical score that never lingers on one theme long enough to play itself out.
|Audio: Real Audio|