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Ladyhawke - Wild Things

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Wild Things

Ladyhawke

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After breaking through with her 2012 album Anxiety, which melded electronic pop sheen with '90 alt-rock crunch and spawned the ubiquitous hit "Blue Eyes," Ladyhawke's next album presented her with a challenge. Pip Brown initially wrote and began recording a batch of darker, more personal songs, but soon decided they didn't really reflect her state of mind. She ditched the recordings and went back with producer Tommy English to try again. Arriving in 2016, Wild Things is the result and it is certainly very sunny and very poppy. It forgoes most of the guitar-driven electro crunch of Anxiety in favor of a modern pop sound built around slick synths and big choruses. Mixing fun uptempo tracks like "Money to Burn" and "The River," which harks back to "Blues Eyes," with more reflective ballads ("Hillside Avenue," the title track) that show the influence of Chvrches, the album sounds made for the radio. Brown and English remove all the rough edges and messy emotions found on previous albums, replacing them with easy-to-swallow arrangements and tightly packaged feelings. It's a sound that's easily recognizable to fans of Carly Rae Jepsen or Tegan and Sara. Most of the songs here could have fit on either of their most recent albums, or on albums by any number of artists pursuing a similarly '80s-influenced, pop-with-synths approach. This compatibility with the prevailing is useful from a marketing standpoint, and possibly from a sales one too, but it doesn't lend itself to differentiating Ladyhawke from the crowd. By sacrificing any grit or punch, Wild Things loses much of its voice, making it sound like just another pop record, easy to ignore or forget about. Unlike Tegan and Sara, who have an exceedingly original lyrical outlook and voices that bleed emotion, or Carly Rae, who tethers her winsome voice to songs that are so hooky that they sink deep into the brain, Ladyhawke's songs here just sort of flow from one to the next, sounding for the most part like commercials. A few songs stand out, like the almost rocking "Let It Roll" and the teen movie soundtrack-ready "A Love Song," but even these tracks are sunk by the pedestrian lyrics and paved-over sound. Whether it was leaving behind all the "dark" songs, hiring a producer too conversant in the sounds of the day, or simply trying too hard to have hits, something went wrong on Wild Things. That it comes after an album that seemed to cement her place as a thoughtful and exciting modern pop artist worth keeping tabs on makes it even more painful. Hopefully, she'll right the ship in the future, but for now, this album is a very bland, quite anonymous-sounding disappointment.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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Wild Things

Ladyhawke

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1
A Love Song
00:03:24

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

2
The River
00:03:26

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

3
Wild Things
00:05:13

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

4
Let It Roll
00:03:08

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

5
Chills
00:03:09

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

6
Sweet Fascination
00:03:48

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

7
Golden Girl
00:03:03

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

8
Hillside Avenue
00:02:39

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

9
Money To Burn
00:02:39

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

10
Wonderland
00:03:33

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

11
Dangerous
00:03:40

Ladyhawke, MainArtist - Phillipa Brown, Composer, All Instruments - Tommy Schleiter, Composer, All Instruments

2016 Polyvinyl Record Co. 2016 Polyvinyl Record Co.

Album Description

After breaking through with her 2012 album Anxiety, which melded electronic pop sheen with '90 alt-rock crunch and spawned the ubiquitous hit "Blue Eyes," Ladyhawke's next album presented her with a challenge. Pip Brown initially wrote and began recording a batch of darker, more personal songs, but soon decided they didn't really reflect her state of mind. She ditched the recordings and went back with producer Tommy English to try again. Arriving in 2016, Wild Things is the result and it is certainly very sunny and very poppy. It forgoes most of the guitar-driven electro crunch of Anxiety in favor of a modern pop sound built around slick synths and big choruses. Mixing fun uptempo tracks like "Money to Burn" and "The River," which harks back to "Blues Eyes," with more reflective ballads ("Hillside Avenue," the title track) that show the influence of Chvrches, the album sounds made for the radio. Brown and English remove all the rough edges and messy emotions found on previous albums, replacing them with easy-to-swallow arrangements and tightly packaged feelings. It's a sound that's easily recognizable to fans of Carly Rae Jepsen or Tegan and Sara. Most of the songs here could have fit on either of their most recent albums, or on albums by any number of artists pursuing a similarly '80s-influenced, pop-with-synths approach. This compatibility with the prevailing is useful from a marketing standpoint, and possibly from a sales one too, but it doesn't lend itself to differentiating Ladyhawke from the crowd. By sacrificing any grit or punch, Wild Things loses much of its voice, making it sound like just another pop record, easy to ignore or forget about. Unlike Tegan and Sara, who have an exceedingly original lyrical outlook and voices that bleed emotion, or Carly Rae, who tethers her winsome voice to songs that are so hooky that they sink deep into the brain, Ladyhawke's songs here just sort of flow from one to the next, sounding for the most part like commercials. A few songs stand out, like the almost rocking "Let It Roll" and the teen movie soundtrack-ready "A Love Song," but even these tracks are sunk by the pedestrian lyrics and paved-over sound. Whether it was leaving behind all the "dark" songs, hiring a producer too conversant in the sounds of the day, or simply trying too hard to have hits, something went wrong on Wild Things. That it comes after an album that seemed to cement her place as a thoughtful and exciting modern pop artist worth keeping tabs on makes it even more painful. Hopefully, she'll right the ship in the future, but for now, this album is a very bland, quite anonymous-sounding disappointment.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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