Under Review: Ladytron – Gravity The Seducer

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For a band to release a career retrospective without disbanding is an intriguing move. Ladytron, the co-ed British electronic group, celebrated the tenth anniversary of their debut, 604, with an album collecting their finest moments of the past decade. After spending some time looking back, the band now looks ahead with a new album, Gravity The Seducer. Never content to settle into one style, Ladytron’s sound has drifted around romantically menacing themes for the past few albums. Gravity The Seducer is no different, though it doesn’t pack as much of an immediate wallop as other recent efforts. Ladytron’s last album, Velocifero, boasted a thunderous, industrial sound courtesy of ex-Nine Inch Nails keyboardist Alessandro Cortini. The strong rhythms complimented and contrasted Helen Marnie’s plaintive, melodic vocals very well, making Velocifero an impressive effort. The band’s focus on Gravity The Seducer has shifted away from throbbing beats and more toward melody, although the songs take a few passes to truly sink in.

Containing nearly as many ballads as upbeat numbers, Gravity The Seducer begins with “White Elephant,” a kind of elegantly baroque retelling of Suicide’s “Shadazz.” The album’s other single, “Ambulances,” is sparse and pleading, with gothic backing vocals framing Marnie’s sorrow-laden lead. A trio of instrumentals punctuates the record, the first two, “Ritual” and “Transparent Days” are satisfying enough, but sound somewhat incomplete. Also notably missing are any Bulgarian contributions from keyboardist Mira Aroyo. Gravity The Seducer does feature “Ace Of Hz,” a new song that originally appeared on the aforementioned decade best-of. Repetition in the name of familiarity is one thing (as is giving a pretty good song a proper home), but the inclusion of “Aces High,” an instrumental variation on the song, is questionable at best and lazy at worst. If just one band were to be tasked with saving the music industry, Ladytron would not be that band. They still deserve your attention, but they might not be able to hold it for nearly as long as they could in the past.

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~ by E. on September 16, 2011.

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