Posted on January 13th, 2009 (11:22 am) by Travis Müller

I heard this album at my former job, which was a nice change from Britney Spears, for whom my managers seemed to have a constant boner. It's rare that I hear an album at work that I can't wait to hear played over and over again — usually listening to a manager-chosen record all the way through more than once akin to water torture. However, with Ladyhawke’s debut, I was hooked from the first track and kept my ears turned in. I don't know who popped this record in our 5-disc changer, but could give that person a giant kiss because it's one of the best debuts I've heard in a very long time.

Ladyhawke, a New Zealand native, is an electronic goddess, drawing inspiration from a wide range of styles. Take some 1980s dance rock and combine it with an updated, more-mature twist and you get this impressive LP (even if the album art doesn't accurately give you a clue as to what kind of monster is backed behind the casing). For fans of electro-funk band Chromeo, Ladyhawke is a real treat - she's got all the attitude, the clever lyrics, the smart beats and the production of the aforementioned act, plus and that fun accent highlighted by the line, "All night long from dusk til' daawwwwn."

The first song on this record is impeccable. “Magic” is by far, my favorite cut on the album, especially because it encompasses everything an electro-pop song should. First off, it's one of the heavier tracks, with its in-your-face, Moroder style and underlying guitar riffs squashed beneath a steady dance-beat.

"You're taking me for granted, baby. I made a start with you, but it's not fair ... one journey for you, but it's worth it. One life here with me, and it's magic."

Her dynamic voice is perfect, drawing inspiration from Imogen Heap, Jenny Lewis, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Luckily, though none of the other songs match the incredible opener, every other cut on Ladyhawke is quite enjoyable. “Manipulating Woman” and “Back on Sunday” are both pure fun, packing in a plethora of different styles of dance music (freezepop anybody?). Plus, Gorgio Moroder's stamp is all over this album, specifically on tracks like “Oh My,” a soft, 80-inspired song akin to the likes of A-Ha and Duran Duran. “Dusk Til Dawn” sounds like it came directly from the Metropolis soundtrack (or as if it was produced by Journey circa 1988) with its crazy attitude and long, drawn out synth notes. The lyrics and arrangement remind me of early-2000s house band The Cooler Kids, fronted by Sisley Treasure.

The non-stop action of Ladyhawke will keep you coming back listen after listen. “Back of the Van” is pure 1985 high school prom - in fact, I think it achieves the sound that all those 80s pop stars were truly striving for. Well, take a note kiddies because Ladyhawke's done it right on her first try. The misleadingly titled “Professional Suicide” is another great pop song featuring spacey verses a-la-Ladytron mixed with a dance-rock sensibility and an in-your-face bridge/chorus: ”It's professional suicide / savin' all you've got for a rainy day. Do what you want...” If there is one important component in a pop song, it's a great hook, and Ladyhawke's debut album is full of them.

“Paris is Burning” is undoubtedly the most popular song on the record, written during the artist's stay in France. The hand-clap/cowbell production soars and Ladyhawke's echoing lyrics just equate pure fun: ”All of the boys and the girls here in Paris sing to the night without sight, but with madness ... tell me the truth, is this love or just Paris?” Anthem-disco never seemed like a good idea until I heard this album thumping through my speaker system. This is a track that just screams "Turn me up, damn it!"

In fact, if I had to give a one line description of Ladyhawke, it would be the aforementioned quote. Every cut on this record literally shines in respect to sonic quality. So, if you're a fan of electronica, pop or disco, then give a spin to the debut from New Zealand-based Ladyhawke.

Track List

1. Magic (3:27)
2. Manipulating Woman (3:35)
3. My Delirium (4:16)
4. Better Than Sunday (3:28)
5. Another Runaway (3:17)
6. Love Don't Live Here (4:03)
7. Back of the Van (3:40)
8. Paris Is Burning (3:49)
9. Professional Suicide (3:43)
10. Dusk Till Dawn (2:37)
11. Crazy World (3:35)
12. Morning Dreams (4:00)

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

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