It’s a strange beast, the whole 80s revival. It’s been going around for more than ten years and now that the 90s revival is peeking through Venetian blinds, it seems there’s enough of an audience for both to coexist. Even more, the once clear divide between 80s and 90s revival seems blurry at best. Having lived through those years and seeing the bands that pillage from eras long gone makes me realize that we will always bring elements from our past into our work.
Ladyhawke has a clear love for a decade now long gone. Just look at the name and maybe you were one of the lucky ones who saw it in a sticky-floored cinema with terrible sound. Maybe you experienced it on VHS (or Betamax). Or on DVD, with its epic soundtrack fully restored. That love comes through in every track from her recent album, Wild Things.
With a musical structure that pays tribute to Erasure, The Human League, and Altered Images, Ladyhawke intertwines synths and beat machines, creating a neon-drenched atmosphere of glittery pop. The results dance gracefully from the earworm-ey ‘Chills’ to the complexities of ‘Wild Things’, probably the highlight of the entire album. ‘Wild Things’ rewards you with a layered approach that keeps things as simple as possible, but as complex as they come. A spectrum of moods, from longing to ecstasy, find their place in this beautiful slice of pop.
Now, don’t think Ladyhawke‘s gone proggy. There are enough tracks here to keep you peppy. Tracks like ‘Money to burn’ and ‘Sweet Fascination’ push you from foot tapping into grooving and weaving. ‘Dangerous’ can keep you accompanied while strolling in rain-drenched sidewalks that glimmer with the everlasting shine of neon lights.
Ladyhawke‘s work ethic means that albums come few and far between instead of being churned out. You could deduce why if you listen to Anxiety, a dark sophomore album. With Wild Things, you still get the idea of the glacial pace of Ladyhawke: it’s music that has to be good enough for her to be released. This could potentially push her away from whatever musical genre is doing the rounds. I don’t think she ignores this fact. I believe she’s using that to galvanize the music she creates because if it stands tall in her mind and if it’s something she can believe in, the product, no matter the style, will be a good one.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López