The ’Tron Return

New album for popular synth wielders

Umpteen years ahead of their time, synth-pop pioneers Ladytron are about to re-enter the fray, like a legendary old boxer coming out of retirement to teach the young new-rave pups a lesson. 

Actually that’s a bollocks analogy, as the Liverpudlian quartet couldn’t be less like old boxers if they tried. Splendidly aloof and vocally atonal, their female front-pair were early exponents of the stationary-behind-a-keyboard image that has since thrust the likes of Lou Hayter (New Young Pony Club) onto certain cool lists. 

They’ve toured relentlessly in support of their 2005 LP ‘Witching Hour’. Now they’re back with a new album, ‘Vocifero’, all set to drop on June 3rd. Details are sparse but they’ve whetted appetites with a free download taster, the album’s opening track, ‘Black Cats’. It has an industrial vibe and French lyrics, which makes a certain amount of sense, as the album was recorded with Nine Inch Nails producer Alessandro Cortini, in Paris.  
They’ve also announced yet another tour, around Europe and the UK, then a lengthy jaunt round the States.  

Clash grilled Ladytron’s Helen Marnie about the new album…

How did you approach the new album – were there any particular influences or concepts you introduced?

“We toured [previous album] Witching Hour for about two or three years, so when we eventually got some time off that was when the creative process kicked in. I know a lot of bands write when they’re on the road but for us that is just impossible. It’s good to just have some head space in order to get back into the swing of things.”

“I think with Witching Hour we created an album that we were most happy with sonically so that was a good starting point. Having been around for almost eight years we never really feel pressurized to conform, so we just do things our own way and see what happens. I think Velocifero is the result of us learning a lot from playing live, taking what we know and transforming it into various sounds in the studio.”

Black Cats has both an industrial and Gallic feel – is that a product of working with Allessandro Cortini, and in Paris?

“Black Cat is one of the dirtier tracks on the album, and it is deliberately track one. We normally like to open with something quite obscure to shake people up a bit and grab their attention. Even in demo form I think we kind of knew which way this one was heading. I think mixing has as much to do with the sound as the production. We took the record to LA where it was mixed by Michael Patterson and that’s when it all came together.”

You were years ahead of your time – do you get on with the new wave of synth acts? Do you feel like elder statesmen of the ‘new rave’ scene?

“I don’t think we would ever call ourselves the ‘elder statesmen’! It’s strange when we’re referred to as that or ‘pioneers’. It makes us feel old, and at the moment we feel like our music is very fresh. In Liverpool when we first started out there weren’t any other bands around doing what we were doing, so it was difficult for people to label us.”

“Now that synth pop has become more accepted people often try and tie us in with bands that we actually sound nothing like. We’ve always distanced ourselves from any scene because, like in 2000 when we started, we’ve always been on our own.
As far as the new bands cropping up now, there is good and bad stuff. At the moment we’re all big fans of MGMT. They have a great psychedelic electro sound.”

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