if you’re looking for an album packed full of summery tunes (and who isn’t right now, then Wild a Things by Ladyhawke delivers on all fronts
Ladyhawke is back and celebrating life with an album as sugar-coated and colourful as a pack of party ring biscuits.
Ladyhawke, aka New Zealand songstress Pip Brown, has gone all synthesised on us with third album ‘Wild Things’ (out now via Mid Century Records). Her self-titled debut album was a delicious slice of indie pop that blended electro influences with a Stevie Nicks-esque rock attitude. Her 2012 follow-up, ‘Anxiety’, was as brooding as the title suggests. ‘Wild Things’ is pure pop that can only be interpreted as a sonic demonstration of her current mindset – joyous. Brown confirms this, saying “I feel good for the first time in 10 years. I have a clear mind! I have a wife. I feel stable. That is what I’m celebrating.”
While ‘Wild Things’ may sound a bit throwaway in places, Brown has actually taken her time in crafting this poppier sound. The album began life back in 2013, but Brown decided to scrap the full album of material that she wasn’t proud of before taking a year to create what we hear now. It has obviously been a labour of love, and about love, but was it worth the wait?
In short – yes. Do I miss indie-rock days of her debut album? A bit. Are there other artists producing better electro-pop right now? Maybe. But these songs still get in your head and, most importantly, are as moreish as ice cream on a hot day.
‘A Love Song’ is a perfect opening track with its blistering pace and pounding bass line. The lyrics are as delirious with good old-fashioned romance as suggested by the title – “You’ve opened my eyes to the oldest tale of time. This is what a love song sounds like”. ‘The River’ shifts us from 80s influenced electro to something more akin to pure radio-friendly summer pop with the singalong backing vocals of “na na nah”. ‘Let It Roll’ is dominated by a dirty bass line and the infectious chorus of “let it roll like a newborn soul”.
‘Chills’, ‘Golden Girl’ and ‘Wonderland’ all have the bubblegum pop sound that is reminiscent of Gwen Stefani’s solo debut. ‘Wild Things’ and ‘Hillside Avenue’ seem to directly channel Chvrches (the latter beginning with a similar sound to ‘Never Ending Circles’). There are sure to be negative comparisons made regarding jumping on the bandwagon, but why should that be a problem when an album is this much fun?
I think Brown is at her best on this album when she channels some attitude. ‘Sweet Fascination’ is a song about infatuation – “I know you’re watching me, but it could never be”- that refreshes your ears with Brown’s icy vocals cutting into the darker synth undercurrent. ‘Dangerous’ is the standout track of this album, despite being left until last, with a beginning that sounds like it’s about to kick into ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ before Brown’s vocals take hold.
Celebratory albums aren’t always easy to relate to lyrically – they naturally sound like they lack the depth associated with struggle and pain – but ‘Wild Things’, feels like Ladyhawke at her most engaged with the music. Where on her debut she sounded almost detached, here she is vibrant.
Most importantly, if you’re looking for an album packed full of summery tunes (and who isn’t right now?), ‘Wild Things’ delivers. It’s a sugary treat to be savoured.