Ladyhawke - Anxiety

by Lawrence Poole Rating:5.5 Release Date:2012-05-28

Ah, it appears the curse of the dreaded second album has struck again. How many artists can honestly say their first album isn't their best? A whole lifetime of experience and inspiration is thrown into that debut gem, so when it comes around to making their sophomore offering, baying record execs and hungry fans need to be satisfied with something which is penned in a paltry 18 months.

Yet, ironically, Kiwi singer-songwriter Pip Brown has taken four years to put Anxiety together and still it falls a fair way below the high watermark of her 250,000-shifting self-titled first offering. Nowhere is there anything to match the Fleetwood Mac-infused majesty of 'Back of the Van' or 'My Delirium'. However, that's not to say the record is a complete dud.

There are some nice moments - which proved particularly fruitful and enjoyable when I caught her in buoyant form at Shepherd's Bush Empire recently - but just not enough to really get the juices flowing. The electro-inflected 'The Quick & the Dead' bounces along at a nice pace, all reverb and pulsating basslines, while comeback single 'Black, White & Blue' has hints of St Etienne in their early 1990s pomp and 'Sunday Drive' throbs and rocks like a future single should. Sadly, it doesn't really get much better than than that.

Opener 'Girl Like Me loses' itself in its 80s synth touchstones, while 'Vanity' and title track 'Anxiety' fall between the two stools of tipping a hat to the decade fashion forgot and ripping it off completely. Album closer 'Gone Gone Gone' unfortunately ploughss a similar vein by being too derivative to stand on its own two feet, lost in a swirl of keyboards and cliched lyrics.

Such a shame, as Ladyhawke's first album was a geniunely exciting proposition - full of vim, vigour, spark and sassy, ballsy Antipodean charm. Let's hope Pip returns to form on album three.

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