Time’s Arrow is the seventh album release from the UK electronic pop band, Ladytron. Formed in Liverpool in 1999, the band has regularly released new music since their inception.
The album leads off strong with the opening track “City Of Angels”. Sonically exciting, this song is propelled by a driving beat and a haunting vocal. Its layered analog synthesizer sounds evoke a bygone era, inviting one to climb in and hang on for this album’s journey.
But where does the journey take us? Not far, it would appear. Ladytron is great at what they do and, technically, this is a good album. Still, there are few surprises here. Structurally, the songs are built around a few chord changes which generally are repeated throughout. The vocal melodies, which are simple and direct, suffer from being overly repetitive and are augmented only slightly with counter-melodies.
If there is variety on Time’s Arrow, it exists from song to song, where the band might employ different features or synth effects. For example, “Flight From Angkor” changes things up somewhat, with its novel effects and dynamic structure. This is the exception on this recording, though. For much of the album, once the band is eight bars into any given tune, the listener longs for something interesting to happen.
If you are Ladytron, what elements might you add to a song, when hypnotic repetition is the basis of almost everything that you create? Variety in melody? A soaring breakout vocal? Drum patterns or fills that elevate the work? Any or all of these elements would be great, but on this album, they are unfortunately absent.
Fans of the band will probably disagree with this assessment of Time’s Arrow. Despite what are viewed as shortcomings, the album is not without merit. Give it a listen and decide.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: LADYTRON – TIME’S ARROW