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Electro Pop maestros return after three-year hiatus.

Rating: 3 ½ / 10

Hannah Hamilton, 01 Jul 2008

Ladytron are credited with sharpening the cutting edge of the global electro pop knife; the movement that united the ravers with the rockers under one sweat-encrusted glitterball, guitars and synthesisers, drum machines and distortion, that paved the way for that beast of irony gone wrong, nu-rave. As is deserving of such a position, the Liverpool-based four-piece slowly amassed a devoted international following over the course of three albums and a host of remixes, notching up single hits with the excellent ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’, among others.

Now, they return, three long years after their last LP, with a new album, a new look and a new (well, almost) sound: Velocifero – which translates as ‘bringer of speed’.

The whole package screams “Fresh!” and “Hip!” louder than a Yes Campaigner with a megaphone from the moment you clock eyes on the packaging. The faces of the band members coyly poke their smokey-eyed heads out of Eli Sudbrack’s chic, swirling black and white patterns – a cover image that fits just right with the sounds within.

Vintage keyboards and big dirty synths strut their stuff all over dancefloor beats with sexy, frosted vocals on the top, and the effect is mesmerising. Singer Mira Aroyo’s sultry Bulgarian tones give opener ‘Black Cat’s detached, chilly groove a hard edge, but it’s ‘Ghosts’ that really reels you in. A thick electro stomp gets to work on feet, airy synths and twisted keyboard lick your ears while a heavily-reverbed Helen Marnie sings, “There’s a ghost in me /That wants to say I’m sorry/Doesn’t mean I’m sorry”. It’s an early highlight in an album that’s more concerned with sounds than songs, but this slow-burner promises more than just an arrangement of noise. While not as immediate as past releases, once a few spins have taken the sheen off the production, the barbed hooks start to appear and you’re decisively caught.

Key Track: ‘Ghosts’

Rating: 3 ½ / 10
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