[sic] Magazine

Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke

Island Records, September 2008
Reviewed by: Indie Dad

Without doing a mountain of research on Ladyhawke it would be fair to say everything I’ve read mentions Stevie Nicks and/or Nicks’ era Fleetwood Mac. I presume this must be because Pip herself brings the name up as I can scarcely hear a connection musically. I do wonder if the writers have heard (much less own) anything by Nicks. If there is a need for comparison (apart from the catch-all, generic 80s gloss) then I’d go for a touch of Mobiles with a dollop of Missing Persons. Missing Persons were a band featuring Dale and Terry Bozzio (Terry being a Zappa drummer of note) and Warren Cuccurullo (Zappa guitarist – “War-ren Cuc-cu-rullo, Hey , he gave me VD” – and more interestingly for the purposes of this piece, Duran Duran). Missing Persons are criminally overlooked and still sound daisy fresh – a mix of New Wave lite and pure Pop sheen. Check them out (Gwen Stefani needn’t bother).

Any way you slice it, however, Ladyhawke is a great Pop album that is just clever enough to appeal without clever-clever annoyance. And it makes you want to dance. Which may be embarrassing in my case but surely (along with “laugh” and “cry”) is the very purpose of Pop? As Noel Coward once said “Never under estimate the potency of cheap music” – or something very similar. And laugh it does too with some rhymes too good to leave out – on opener Magic “taking me for granted, baby” with “over the Atlantic, baby”. Cry – that would stretch a point but ‘Morning Dreams’ is, well, dreamy.

It’s not so much a job to find influences on this album it’s more difficult to fit them all in here, ‘Manipulating Woman’ could be Propaganda, ‘My Delirium’ should have Kim Wilde requesting a DNA test. But it’s not straight theft by any means, more instant nostalgia that is actually largely better than the memories it throws up. It’s just difficult not to hear snippets – ‘We Close Our Eyes’ by Go West, ‘Africa’ by Toto, very little by Stevie Nicks but ‘Another Runaway’ could get the nod, ‘Cars’ by Gary Numan (verse of ‘Paris Is Burning’). I could really fill a paragraph, The Divinyls, Pat Benetar, Quarterflash (no, I know you don’t but trust me GREAT AOR), The Fixx.

This album isn’t a “grower” in the conventional sense – it’s instantly pleasurable – but whereas that can be the law of diminishing returns this keeps opening out. Which suggests a long shelf life, dare I say “Instant Classic”?
The cover is telling. By the same artist, Sarah Larnach, as the single covers have been (and surely they are worth owning for that) it presents Ladyhawke playing a video game. Despite mildly titillating areas (she’s depicted kneeling dressed in an open shirt and knickers, with a gaming gun tucked in them) it manages to be more charming than anything – she’s surrounded by cats, she is intent on the game rather than seducing the viewer. It is also difficult not to think this is actually Phillipa Brown, and Ladyhawke is out of view – on the screen, kicking ass like Lara Croft. What the warrior Queen will do next will be very interesting. Conventional (and commercial) wisdom would suggest more of the same but I reckon we could all be in for a shock.