They are electro boys and girls.
The thing with shows that bands play before the new album is released is that you are never too sure of what you are going to get. The band clearly wants to road test new material and showcase their new tracks but you have to remember the fans want the songs they already love. It a thin line that most bands have to judge at some point and it feels as though Ladytron pulled off this balancing act with aplomb.
Running three new songs together at the start isn’t a bad idea; the fans are up for it at the beginning and are likely to cheer anything. When you have great new material, then its win-win and it was only the poor sound quality of the venue that hampered the show. The Oran Mor has never impressed this reviewer and when you have an electro band the chances of getting the sound right is going to be even harder.
Opener 'Black Cat' has been kicking about on myspace for a while so many people were into the song from the start but the real great moment came in the next track. Entitled 'Ghosts', it managed to encompass that classic Ladytron sound and yet convey a few other similarities. It was also an early work-out for the vocals of Helen Marnie and the girl has some range on her. Its funny to hear her talk as there is a still a Glasgow twang to her vocals but when he sings, she conveys the octaves of an electro ice-queen. And she had a lot to play with, the melody of the track hinted at Ultravox and their ‘Loves Great Adventure' song whilst the music thundered along like the Dr. Who theme tune on pep pills. The drumming was making itself out to be a highlight ear on and they got better throughout the night. When you take into consideration the intro was a dark glam rock effort, there was a whole lot of sounds packed into one song.
When a band returns from some time away there can be concerns over a new direction and whilst there is a development in the bands sound, they remain as cool as you could wish for in a band. Helen and Mira are still able to provide the icy stare at the front but they have developed a more playful attitude at times and there is no doubt that Ladytron are having fun.
With regards for that development, look no further than 'Runaway', which had an instrumental section to die for....well, cheer loudly and dance energetically to at least. The chorus is also a simple little one line repeated effort which should be able to hook in plenty of fans.
So, three songs in and its clear that the new material is working but what about the old stuff? Are Ladytron still capable of turning on the tracks that made people love them in the first place? 'Seventeen' blows any questions away and reminds the majority of the room why they fell in love with the band in the first pop. The cool pop edge, the dark and twisted undertone combine to create an anthemic rush that has lost nothing with age. This is a track that used to close the Ladytron set and here it is being played less than five songs into their new set-list. The best thing to say is that the rest of the set doesn’t suffer because of it.
The old favourites come rolling out one after another. 'High Rise' is followed by 'Blue Jeans', 'International Dateline' is running up against 'Playgirl' and everyone is happy. The new material more than holds its own, theres a definite growth in maturity of the bands sound and they remain the coolest folk in town. There not much more you can ask for but the encore delivers and when 'Destroy Everything You Touch' brings the night to a close, all you can do is smile and give thanks that Ladytron are back, potentially better than ever.
Considering they were pretty darned good in the first place, you can’t ask for any more than that!