British electro-indie pop quartet Ladytron takes another step away from the mainstream and into a world of abstract sound with their fifth album, Gravity the Seducer.
Ladytron uses a cohesive concept on this album, unlike their previous releases. On their 2008 release, Velocifero, their sound was more pop based with a focus on vocals alongside familiar percussive conventions. However, Gravity the Seducer puts synthesized vocals and electronic beats on the same level, using a haunting and spine-chilling modified violin in many of their tracks.
On the first listen of this album, one is unsure of how to react. The first track, “White Elephant,” sounds like an electric Parisian circus, as lead vocalist Helen Marnie narrates your inevitable seduction and exit to the electronic-netherworld with lyrics such as “Now, surrender with me ’cause we’re walking in our sleep and we won’t come around.”
In their second single, “Ambulances,” Ladytron contemplates the pain associated with the loss of a beloved with regret-drenched lyrics: “And if I should never get the chance to let you know, listen to me now, how we loved you so.” The contrast between the emotional realism of the lyrics and vaporous instrumentals produce an intriguing product.
The last track, “Aces High,” is a twin to Ladytron’s first single, “Ace of Hz,” released in March. Both “Aces High” and “Ace of Hz” have similar melodies and scale progressions. However, they each possess unique aspects: “Ace of Hz” has a more distinct, subdivided backbeat with vocals, whereas “Aces High” has a smooth and lyrical sound, sans vocals.
By the time you’ve listened to the whole album through and take up the journey once more, Gravity the Seducer’s celestial consolidation of sound is beautiful.
For all of its conceptualization, the album’s greater emotional depth is lost by their choice to put the vocals and beats on the same audio level. While this move gains a ghostly aesthetic, it decreases the potency of their lyrics. With this all in mind, Gravity the Seducer is an album worth its singles.