FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008 |
Welcoming listeners like a closed fist, "Black Cat" - the song that opens Ladytron’s fourth album Velocifero (Netwerk) - kills the ears with a buzzy bass line and forceful, mechanical drum work. It’s a sinister new sound; one that conjures up the seediest of S&M clubs and quite possibly might drive you to wear anything leather. It’s also the work of Alessandro Cortini (who’s worked with NIN) and Vicarious Bliss. With their help, the long time electro rock group employs dramatic timing to tremendous effect over the course of the album.
Ladytron’s devotion to good pop song craft and catchy melodies has always made them stand apart from their peers. And while “Runaway” – incorporated with stinging synths and Helena Marnine’s ethereal vocals – might channel your favorite eighties band that doesn’t exist, the added guitar haze and danceable beats unfortunately lump them in the pack with everyone else. This is unfair, especially since the atmospheric track “Ghosts” thankfully puts an end to any questions “Runaway” might raise.
Throughout the record, Marnine’s vocals range from hypnotic, to cold, to detached, and mixed up with a little melancholy and wistfulness. Dark, dreamy, dense, and catchy as all hell, Velocifero should only be listened to at night, as evidenced by the groove-filled “Kletva” and tension filled “Deep Blue”.
Sure…this all sounds like the stuff of soulless one-night stands and the emptiness of a certain kind of “love”. But the album is darkly appealing, sinister, and sexy, reminding you of why you took this course of action in the first place. Velocifero is a dangerously attractive album that hurts you and leaves you wanting more. - Stephon Johnson