Ladytron’s fixed, avant-garde appearance may seem too en-vogue to be considered effortlessly cool, but when a group dressed in black cadet uniforms and sporting void facial expressions manages to capture your emotions with their ’80s electro synth-pop you just may have something. They are Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt, Helen Marnie, Reuben Wu, a girl-boy quartet based in Liverpool that will be releasing their third album, Witching Hour, on October 4th. The new project marks a darker, more diverse follow up to Light & Magic (2002) and 604 (2001) – the musical equivalents of optimistic pre-adolescence that has blossomed into a matured, yet renewed, coming-of-age. Witching Hour, whose title originates from a lyric off of “Soft Power”, was recorded in Liverpool, mixed in London and produced by Jim Abbiss (Kasabian, Placebo, DJ Shadow). Although Witching Hour was completed almost immediately and ready for release by September 2004, distribution was delayed after the group’s US label, Emperor Norton, folded. Ladytron has recently signed with Rykodisc and will release the album a day early in the United Kingdom through Island Records.
The album is contemplative with “Destroy Everything You Touch” and “International Dateline”, while beautifully haunting throughout “Soft Power”. By no means a rock debut, it showcases a broader set of influences and uniquely features guitars (something new for Ladytron). The tracks are relentlessly energetic, pulsating with early electroclash nostalgia and precisely cradle the emotional crevices they evoke. Though the band helped to pioneer the electroclash movement during the ’90s and have been trendsetters in their genre ever since, don’t call them “retro” or mention the “’80s revival”. They would rather be recognized for their unclassifiable pop sound, for which deconstruction of meaning and instrument would “ruin”. Witching Hour is Ladytron’s best album to date. It suspends time, captures your rationale and promises to never let go. Who could expect anything less from a band that would like to be remembered simply for their songs?