Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Slightly ahead of the curve, Ladyhawke (aka Antipodean Pip Brown) cherry-picked the best bits of the early-80s synth revolution, tying it together with a persona that was equal parts androgynous starlet and alienated mall rat. Sound familiar? It's hard to believe Eleanor Jackson of soon-to-be chart-toppers La Roux didn't cock an ear while perfecting the lacquer on her tweenage Tilda Swinton quiff. But let's be honest - it's not like Brown really broke any new ground herself; her debut is simply a pop-literate record unafraid to wear its influences in plain sight.

That said, there's plenty of evidence that the girl who got there first did the best job. Take big single 'Paris is Burning': a whip-smart homage to the kooky-girl-goes-disco sound perfected by new wavers The Waitresses, it pulls off that great early-80s pop trick of making you dance to a song wracked with existential angst. Exhibit two is 'Dusk Til Dawn', a squelchy synth march with shades of Survivor's peerless hair metal anthem 'Eye of the Tiger' hanging over it. It's daft as a brush and heaps of fun.

And that's what's missing from La Roux's Now That's What I Call 1981 sheen; that's why Little Boots always stops just short of making your feet move: their music is just too damn cool. They've taken only the hip, clever bits of the 80s. But pop is not clever, or at least it should never know when it is. Dear God, just YouTube Marc Almond miming 'Tainted Love' on Top of the Pops in 1981 if you don't believe me. Ladyhawke never makes the mistake of thinking she's cool, and she's more likeable and a little heroic because of it. It takes real ladyballs to reclaim Stevie Nicks for a new generation, the way Ladyhawke does so gloriously on the smoky 'Back of the Van'. 'Crazy World', meanwhile, sounds so much like Cyndi Lauper it's a fair bet even Cyndi Lauper gets confused when she hears it. But if you still like your postmodern pop with pout in place, 'My Delirium' sounds like Bruce Springsteen if he'd Freaky Friday-ed with Gary Numan circa 1979. That's a good thing, by the way.

Best tracks: 'Back of the Van', 'Paris is Burning', 'Dusk Til Dawn'

Richard Morris

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