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Witching Hour
by: Sun-J

Ladytron's debut, 604 introduced post-punk to popular rock. In 2002 they released Light and Magic contributing to the expanding electro clash scene. In 2003 Ladytron delivered a remix CD and showed their growth doing pop-punk versions of songs such as Tweet's "Oops, Oh My." Their latest release Witching Hour, is hands down Ladytron's best work to date. The contrasting vocal styles of Mira Aroyo and Helen Marnie compliment each other as well as the instrumentation.

Their successful juxtaposition is evident on the lead track, "High Rise," as they croon

"...there's a new day dawning..."
"Destroy Everything You Touch," is the second single off the album and is complete with a catchy chorus using anthem-like synthesizers. "International Dateline" is my pick for standout track. It begins with a rhythmic drum patterns that sounds as if it were concocted from garbage can lids, before traversing along with lush fuzz guitars. The heartfelt lyricism is further transcribed vicariously through the passionate bellowing of Helen Marnie's vocals:
"Woke up in the evening
To the sound of the screaming
Through the walls that were bleeding
All over me
Untied & weightless
Unconscious as we cross
The international dateline
Let's end it here"
"Soft Power" has musical momentum which builds and piques with Aroyo's vocals. "CMYK" is a two minute instrumental with an eerie atmosphere filled with various synthetic harmonies. "amTV" is an upbeat track with pulsating rhythms. "Sugar" was the first single off the album and blends garage rock with electronic drones and fuzz guitar. The lyrics are very repetitive, but blended with the instrumental it is difficult to consciously notice. "Fighting In Built Up Areas" is not on my high list of songs on the album. The international vocals are a tad annoying, and are weekly integrated to the superb instrumental combination of electronic, sonorous, musical oration. "The Last One Standing" picks up where "Sugar" left off with a catchy two-step rhythm. "Weekend" is very melodic with charming organs and teary reverb. "Beauty*2" is depression-city, but manages to translate into an enjoyable listen. "White Light Generator" is 90's shoe gaze, while the final track "All The Way" orchestrates a full musical conclusion with elements of electro clash, and light grunge.

Witching Hour was a great release from Ladytron. As soon as I had discovered Jim Abbiss was behind production I knew I would be expecting arrangements on par with Placebo. This album seems to have a song for any cinematographic scene; from eating, to murder, to crying, to sex. And while you won't be hearing this music on any OC Mix anytime soon, definitely give this indie album a try.



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