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Joey O.

CD of The Week

Week of 1/23/23

    Ladytron - Time's Arrow (Cooking Vinyl)

    Four years ago, Ladytron returned from a self-imposed hiatus with an incendiary album that dared to dance while the world was burning around it. It was as vital and visceral as anything they had come up with since their 2005 masterwork Witching Hour. Now as the world continues to burn, they've returned yet again with an album that seems content to merely smolder. While immaculately produced and competently performed, it finds the group returning to the restraint of 2011's Gravity The Seducer, but never quite matches the weight or allure of that increasingly underrated release.

    Things start off promisingly enough with the patient pulse of "City of Angels" which echoes both the metronomic majesty of the band's debut 604 and the gothy gauze of early Charli XCX. We even get dalliance with Italo right after in "Faces" that'll make you wonder what took them so long to go that route. Unfortunately, too much of what follows finds what used to make this band so distinct evaporate into a shoegazing ether. Again, this is something that has been a part of the Ladytron formula since Witching Hour, but where they used to tailor such influences to fit their aesthetic, now we're starting to see the clothes wear the model a bit.

    They continue to be very pretty clothes, mind you. We get a somewhat convincing M83 get-up on "The Dreamers" and some early New Order accessorizing on "Flight From Ankor." These are cases of a band spending so much time perfecting the notes that they forget to play the music, however. Also, the beats that made this album's predecessor so potent are all but absent. The gliding "The Night" may be the exception here, but even that hardly seems capable of destroying everything it touches.

    In other words, a mild miss from one of our most quietly reliable electro-poppers, but there's enough to suggest more accurate arrows remain in their quiver for next time. Just gotta work on that aim.
    Review by Rob Huff

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