Albums

Wild Things by Ladyhawke

I made my finger bleed playing along to one of my favourite songs on this album – the titular song, “Wild Things”. The song isn’t fast, and I’m not particularly great on guitar – I had simply been bitten on the index finger of my fingering hand by our hamster, Moomin. But I didn’t care, it’s a great song to play along to. I didn’t know what key it was in, so I just found a couple of notes that sounded good and pretended I was on stage with Phillipa Brown herself.

Extremely catchy, infectious electro pop.

This is my first time hearing any music by Ladyhawke, and I’m already completely hooked. Listening to her sing, she sometimes reminds me of the vocal sound of Bananarama and even Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders.

The music throughout this album feels like it’s constantly driving forward with ever-increasingly infectious grooves and power. “Wild Things” is a consistantly brilliant, idiosyncratic album and even though each song is unique, the album has a strong consistency throughout which is tied together by Phillipa Brown’s stunning vocals.

This is what a great album sounds like

The opening song, “A Love Song” pulls no punches. It immediately pulled me into its infectious electro-pop groove and built me up to its big chorus. These huge, unashamed choruses are a staple of this album’s core.

The third song is one of my favourites on the album. “Wild Things”, the titular track, builds up slowly with its ambient electro sounds. Then from out of its electro-atmosphere we can hear a voice rising, singing what will be the album’s chrous. As soon as her voice has risen into coherence we drop into a slower, more reflective sound than has been heard up until now.

Your heartache is not forever
It’s another road that we walk together
And our lives become much stronger
As the world goes on much longer
I wandered far to find the answers
What keeps me alive while taking chances

When you’re always almost lonely
You forget to take it slowly

There’s a fire
In the heartland
We dance around it like the wild things in the night

“Wild Things” from the album “Wild Things” by Ladyhawke

“Chills” burrows its way into that part of the brain that makes you bob you head and tap your feet without realising. As I am writing this along to the song, I realise that I am almost full-on dancing where I sit. God help me when I’m driving home listening to this.

“Golden Girl”, although having lyrics of what I think is about unrequited love, feels like one of the album’s most upbeat-sounding songs.

There’s no way up, there’s no way down
You stole my heart but you throw it around
You give it up then you give it away
Your golden girl waits another day
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Your golden waits another day

This is the daughter of love running wild
We are the children that play on the other side
But here I am holding cards that will show you
My aching heart’s all too easy to cut through

“Golden Girl” from the album “Wild Things” by Ladyhawke

The album’s closing song, “Dangerous”, is also up there as one of my favourites. Phillipa sings so seductively on the song’s bridge before throwing you into one of the album’s biggest, and definitely my favourite of the album’s, choruses.

This is an album that goes out with a huge bang, and I can’t help but want even more of it once it’s finished.

Underneath it’s spell

The front cover of the album reads “Recorded in spectacular 100% stereophonic sound”. Now I have no idea what that actually means, but I do know that this album does sound 100% spectacular.

Although my thinking of this as an electro-pop album, “Wild Things” has a much more “real band sound” than other electronic albums tend to have – especially the drums. Perhaps that’s part of the whole “stereophonic sound”.

This feels like an album that only comes along every once in a while and is definitely going to remain in my repeated playlist for a long time to come.

This is what a great album sounds like.

Albums

Midnight Machines by Lights

 

Over the past few years I’ve been noticing how things have more of an affect on me than they did when I was younger. Films that touch on the human condition move me more than they did; songs about a loved one have a greater affect as I imagine myself and my girlfriend in place of song characters.

Lights’ music on “Midnight Machines” has this affect on me too. An album that I probably would have dismissed a few years ago, is now one of my favourites of this year so far.

Midnight Machines opens with a slow, finger-picked guitar piece called “Up We Go” and gives a good taste as to the pace and mood of what’s to come on the album. The soft guitar and quiet kick drum that enters later serve well the almost-husky voice of Valerie Poxleitner, the real name of the artist “Lights”.

All of the songs on the album are routed in soft acoustic guitar, minimal percussive arrangement and a voice that remains consistently heart-warming throughout. Occasionally, new instrument sounds will weave into the compositions in a way that helps keep you hooked on her words. The album is built on a foundation of strong lyrics.

“Same Sea”, the second song on “Midnight Machines”, opens with the familiar soft finger-picking but now backed with low piano chords and later a low-played string instrument – cello perhaps. No matter what instrumental arrangement is backing her up, the harmonies produced along with Valerie’s voice are always very moving and very personal.

For me the fourth song “Meteorites” is the best example to showcase her abilities as a vocalist and how beautiful her voice sounds with these awesome harmonies. That’s not to say that other songs on the album are weaker – far from it – this is just the one that particularly struck out to me.

My favourite songs on “Midnight Machines” are the ones where her lyrics are the most personal. In “Don’t Go Home Without Me” she sings a beautiful, reflective song where she perfectly puts herself into the shoes of her future self, reflecting back on a life well-spent with her partner and how she’ll be with them till the very end, and how she is grateful for them having stayed with her.

This is the song I will sing to you when you’re old and tired
I will sing it to remind you that I’m old beside you
And if you’re tired of hearing my voice
I’m gonna sing it to you anyway
‘Cause I know that if we made it this far
Those differences I would put away

Don’t Go Home Without Me from Midnight Machines

When the next song begins it really shows off the great pacing on both the songs and the album as a whole. “Running With The Boys” is possibly my favourite song on the album, and is the one that stands out the most to me for being the more upbeat and faster-paced of the album’s songs.

Throughout the album, she tends to keep her voice at a calm, soothing level. Occasionally when she does raise her vocals up at particularly emotional points, it’s done to great effect.

When I think of this album, I think of it as a warm blanket that I like to wrap myself up in at least once a week. Next time you want an album you can relax to – and enter a calm, reflective mood to – check out “Midnight Machines” by Lights.