Originally published and still available on Renowned For Sound (28/12/13).
There is a sense of comfort that comes with nostalgia, that warm, gooey feeling that envelops you as soon as the opening chimes of a familiar song sound, evoking memories of when you were here or there and who you were with. In regards to music itself, reminiscence plays a powerful part in our psyche, causing us to recall when times were better, life was easier and when the world itself was that little bit more enjoyable. Who can forget the cheesy pop sounds of the ’90′s, or the first real wave of electronic music of the ’80′s – if you were a teen of that decade; if you weren’t, bygone eras tend to be vicariously relived through the music, dress and other nuances of that time. But what occurs when you force two decades to meet in the middle? For this case in question, the answer is Ladyhawke.
Taking her moniker from Richard Donner’s 1985 film of the same name proves her commitment to the ’80′s cause, for the love of said decade that Ladyhawke channels into her most successful project is unbound.
The singer – real name Pip Brown – having previously fed her appreciation for rock music into her bands Two Lane Blacktop and Teenager (with Nick Littlemore of Australian band Empire And The Sun) – decided to grab her microKORG and start penning songs that paid homage to her childhood. The result was Ladyhawke, her eponymous 2008 debut album that saw her bolt from obscurity to indie-pop stardom overnight.
If you have ever craved glittering ’80′s infused pop-rock pudding minus the sickly cream cheese to the overall cake, with Ladyhawke you are hitting the right spot.
From the throbbing opening of Magic to the whimsical closing bars of Morning Dreams, Ladyhawke is full of charm, with each of its twelve songs being woven with hip-wriggling hooks and infectious choruses that have you hitting the repeat button as soon as the album is finished. It is one of those albums where any song could have been a single, and in some cases the listener is left wondering why on Earth some of them were not; the jerky, contagious rhythm of Manipulating Woman, gripping pop chorus of Better Than Sunday and the irresistible Love Don’t Live Here Anymore belong on the airwaves, making it almost positively scandalous that they were sidestepped for songs that – whilst not always superior – are easily their equals.
From Dusk Til Dawn and Paris Is Burning are both disco stompers, but the true jewel in this crown is easily My Delirium. Riding in on a gust of retro breeze, this moodily synthesised anthem explodes into a euphoric, sing-a-long chorus that catches like a pandemic, riddling into your system and coursing through your limbs until – before you realise it – you are boogeying along in your seat.
It takes skill and devotion to pluck the favourite elements from your musical reminiscing and re-appropriate them into tunes that feel both familiar and fresh upon the first listen, but that is what Brown has managed to do here, blending synths, guitar hooks and often simple yet catchy choruses into lovably unpretentious pop songs that make you feel snugly at home. If you have never encountered the interstellar music of Ladyhawke, make the effort to start now.
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