Album Review: ladyhawke anxiety

14 May 2012 | 5:38 pm | Helen Lear

A collection of ten dark and heavily-themed tracks feature on this album, which is a far cry from the light and catchy tunes we’ve come to know and love.

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When New Zealand's Pip Brown, aka Ladyhawke, burst onto the music scene in 2008 with her multi-award winning self-titled album, it was a spectacular triumph with classic pop tracks Delirium and Paris Is Burning quickly becoming radio hits. Fast forward to 2012 and the release of her sophomore album and unfortunately Ladyhawke's second outing isn't quite going to meet the mark. It's 'second album syndrome' hitting hard. The title, Anxiety, says it all really. A collection of 10 dark and heavily-themed tracks feature on this album, which is a far cry from the light and catchy tunes we've come to know and love.

Recorded in New Zealand and France earlier this year by producer and long-time collaborator, Pascal Gabriel, Ladyhawke has already started spruiking this latest offering with a series of small gigs in London, Sydney and Melbourne and is due to start touring more widely again soon. The whole sound of the album is overproduced and jarring with so many effects and buzzes that you can't really hear the original music. There's a tinny-sounding overlay that makes it sound like listening to the album on really bad speakers and it's hard to hear the quality of Brown's voice.

Nothing really stands out immediately as a hit track, but first single off the album, Black, White & Blue, is the closest thing to typical Ladyhawke territory and one of the stronger numbers. Anxiety has a strong, upbeat pop melody but the lyrics remain dark and depressing – “Take me on a ride/Show me how to hide the voice in my head.” The only slower track on the album, Cellophane, is a refreshing change and give's Brown's voice a chance to shine with some nice vocal harmonies. The story of love lost is a clever, modern take on the old rose-tinted spectacles analogy: “We are looking through pink cellophane.”

It's a disappointing second outing for Ladyhawke, especially after such a long-anticipated wait.

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