Local Wire


It is difficult to maintain momentum over the course of 13 songs, yet New Zealand's Pip Brown — better known as Ladyhawke — is blissfully ignorant of this. Right from the dual claps on the opener "Magic," Ladyhawke grabs listeners by the hand with a purple, sequined glove of splendid electro-indie pop. The album is heavy on synthesizers and electronic instrumentals, yet Brown is meticulous in crafting a sound larger and more ambitious than any keyboard can produce. Helping this transcendent sound are Brown's and sparkling vocals — which sound like a cross between pure '80s pop and contemporary indie troubadours like Feist and Annie Clark. Brown's heartfelt lyrics add a surprising and appropriate melancholy to her ruthlessly infectious electro-pop. "Paris Is Burning" — one of the best songs of 2008 — balances Brown's honest lyrics with a serene landscape of synthed-up guitars and melodic, resplendent keys. The song is irresistible in its mellow splendor, allowing the album to reach its crux, quite an accomplishment amid so many solid tracks. Ladyhawke is overflowing with indie/synth pop decadence. It's not hard to tell Pip Brown had the time of her life recording her near-perfect album.
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Michael Lopez