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Ladytron - Time's Arrow (Album Review)

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Wendy Redfern

‘Time’s Arrow’, Ladytron’s seventh studio album, largely deals with the progression of time—the one-way ticket that needs to be drained of opportunities that arise along the journey. The synth-pop duo have attempted to dress this up in a “dreamlike” and “uplifting” veil according to chief lyricist and lead vocalist Helen Marnie, but that’s only true some of the time.

‘Time’s Arrow’ is the first Ladytron album since 2019’s eponymous effort and, inevitably, its existence was at the mercy of the pandemic, with the majority of work fleshed out via electronic communication. Perhaps inadvertently, perhaps knowingly, the tracklisting could be seen as depicting a life journey for many of us.

From euphoric beginnings, the progression sees joy and happiness followed by increasing optimism before the realisation that things aren’t always going to be comfortable and safe, like so many childhoods.

By placing all three singles at the top of the running order, these wondrous early years are captured accordingly.

Lead single City of Angels is enlightening. Following a standard three-chord progression, divine synths glorify a wonderfully catchy opener that deals with the “collapse of cultural memory.” Third single Faces follows, and its pitch-perfect chorus is an exceptional piece of synth-pop.

But next comes second single Misery Remember Me and, despite the preceding tracks both being of superb quality, it tops both. There’s less of a synth drive, it’s perhaps more of a backdrop this time around, but the verses and chorus are indelibly catchy.

Playing all your aces at once means things are inevitably going to tail off. The more robotically mundane Flight From Angkor is a disappointment after the early highs, while the soothing come down of We Never Went Away is a slab of beauty that only blossoms upon repeated plays. 

“Time waits for no one” we are reminded during the soothing The Dreamers and, despite its comforting nature, it’s again more subdued. Some ‘80s glitz shimmers on California but it lacks fire, while the closing title track hits a dull, inevitable conclusion as time follows its unwavering course.

So, once again, we see an album come along that promises the world yet ultimately only simmers after a stunning entrance. Rather like the arrow of time, we  find ourselves gliding aimlessly as it carries us along. As a result the album suffers under the considerable weight of those spectacular early moments.

Ladytron Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri March 10 2023 - GLASGOW SWG3 Warehouse
Sat March 11 2023 - LIVERPOOL Camp & Furnace
Sun March 12 2023 - LONDON KOKO

Compare & Buy Ladytron Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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