From very humble (some might even say cheesy) beginnings with 2001’s 604, Ladytron have gone through a number of very clear phases. The typically difficult second album Light and Magic (2002) was pretty much perfect in every way, while the normally confident third release Witching Hour (2005) was generally hard work.
But since then, they have really gone from strength to strength. Velocifero (2008) was extremely strong, and their most recent album Gravity the Seducer (2011) stronger still. Let’s examine why…
The first track on Gravity the Seducer is called White Elephant, and is traditional Ladytron. Wonderful, brilliant, anthemic, traditional Ladytron. It’s not too dark and harsh; the synth sounds gently ripple; and the vocal rises steadily to build into a brilliant chorus. With the slightly mandolin-like sound in the introduction there’s an almost Mediterranean feel to what must be one of their finest opening tracks.
Second track Mirage is slightly less exciting, but still confidently carries you through the early stages of the album, leading into White Gold, and finally the lead single, the totally brilliant Ace of Hz.
The genesis of this album is curious, as 2011 began with a new compilation Best Of 00-10 with a couple of new tracks, one of which was Ace of Hz. Later the same year, it reappeared as part of their fifth album. Apart from having an excellent name, it’s also up there among the best songs of their career to date.
The only real weak patch on the album is the one which follows. Ritual is pretty good, but Moon Palace and Altitude Blues just seem a little flat, particularly the latter, which relative to some of the other tracks is pretty dull. Fortunately Ambulances comes, if you’ll pardon the pun, racing in to rescue the day.
When Ladytron get all the elements right, they’re totally mindblowingly brilliant, as is illustrated by this track. This time there’s a slightly military drum pattern to drive things forward from a largely choral introduction. Melting Ice, which follows, is also great, much more of their tradition of driving, repeated choruses with flailing drum patterns.
Transparent Days is a little less exciting as a fairly eventless instrumental, but the final pairing of 90 Degrees and Aces High brings things to a wonderfully strong close. The former is one of their softer series of tracks, punctuated with yet another excellent middle section. And the final track Aces High reprises Ace of Hz as a strong instrumental and ends the album on strong form.
Gravity the Seducer is, then, a worthwhile reminder of how good Ladytron can be. It may not feature anything with the innocence or power of the first couple of albums, but it’s delivered with all the confidence they should have had back in 2005.
You can find Gravity the Seducer with the rest of their back catalogue on iTunes and all the normal places.