Ladyhawke
Anxiety


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
May 29th, 2012 | 59 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There really is nothing to get anxious over, Pip.

“I take a pill to help me through the day, I stay inside until I feel ok.
I’ve always been so cautious, but I’m sick of feeling nauseous.
It’s not that I am losing this war of my own choosing.
Take me on a ride, show me how to hide the voice in my head.”

In an industry seemingly full of extroverts, one wonders how New Zealand born multi-instrumentalist Phillipa “Pip” Brown – under the moniker of Ladyhawke – even released an album... Let alone one which was both critically and commercially successful. Suffering through multiple illnesses (Asperger’s Syndrome, lactose intolerance and multiple allergies) as well as low self-esteem, Brown fought through anxiety at practically every stage of making her self-titled debut LP... An ailment which heightened on stage as she toured worldwide. The resulting exhaustion dictated that it would be almost four years until a successor was released, but even if the laconic – arguably disengaging - indie-inspired vocals give away that this is the same awkward, effortlessly cool artist; the above lyrical confession from Anxiety’s title track suggests that this is a different Ladyhawke second time around.

“I’m on a high and I don’t even know why” is a telling opening lyric – if a slightly misleading one – as Brown predominantly eschews the sparse 80s leaning synth-pop of her debut for what can broadly be classified as new-wave tinged indie pop-rock. Bass is consistently prominent, live drums dominate over programmed beats, while casual listeners may well completely miss the level to which grungy guitars have been used, albeit through distorted effects. Occasionally such effects do smother melodies by detracting from the bouncy synth, but - as second single 'Sunday Drive' especially proves - Ladyhawke and practically her sole collaborator Pascal Gabriel (Kylie Minogue, Goldfrapp, Marina & The Diamonds) have far from lost their knack for an infectious hook. Gabriel’s production here is crisp, detailed and well-crafted, lending itself to repeat listens, if not matching the chart-baiting immediacy of previous hits ‘Paris Is Burning’, ‘My Delirium’, ‘Magic’ & ‘Dusk Till Dawn’.

As an unfortunate side-effect of this two-pronged creative process, one’s opinion of this brisk 36 minute album may well come down to the age-old debate of “consistency vs lack of variety”, with ‘Anxiety’ definitely falling into both categorizations. As such, choosing highlights almost feels insignificant, with not only a slim gap between the best and worst track here, but also a dependence on the personal need for diversity – a requirement most likely to be satisfied by the Bowie-influenced 70s glam stomp of ‘The Quick & The Dead’ and the darker, more methodically paced ‘Cellophane’. "What will people think of me?” Brown ponders on ‘Vaccine’... Well, while it fails to better its predecessor, ‘Anxiety’ is a mature, personal and vulnerable release that is both a brave and natural evolution for an undoubtedly talented artist. Bottom line: There really is nothing to get anxious over, Pip.

Recommended Tracks: Sunday Drive, Anxiety, Vaccine and Black White & Blue.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
profoundword (4)
A more consistent, mature pop record....


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

PS: I like the album art.

AtavanHalen
May 29th 2012


17927 Comments


didn't read but this album fucking slays

what a babe

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wasn't sure if you'd like it DavID. You prefer this to her debut?

Which reminds me, I have to get to KM-H soon.

Tyrael
May 29th 2012


20971 Comments


Not so sure if I like this yet

a 3 it is

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kind of a fair call. While I think this album will age well in the medium term as I insinuate in the review, I think the lack of individual highlights may count against it in the longer term. Difficult to tell though & I guess it all comes back to that age-old debate I spoke of.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


31620 Comments


Yeah, there's a definite lack of radio marketability with this album, but at the same time I enjoy that this ends up being a more dedicated listen. Not that Pip deliberately tried to make "radio hits", but it feels like she's put more effort in to giving every track a chance to shine here

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well said Dev. It's actually a good point you touch on re: her debut. There were so many "radio hits" on there, yet she surely didn't go out of her way to make an album full of them.

I have heard a few interviews re: this album, where she said she thinks people expected her to make a ravey synth-pop LP... But that simply wasn't her. Having said that, while I do stand by my line in the review about the guitars, I do think the "rock" aspect of this album is being played up a little too much elsewhere.

bloc
May 29th 2012


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

BOOOOOO

trippinonthizz
May 29th 2012


165 Comments


shes sexy but something tells me id hate her music

auberginedreams
May 29th 2012


6077 Comments


this doesn't really have anything to do with the actual music being reviewed, but why are there so many indie tags? there's "alt/indie," "indie pop" and just plain "indie."

Digging: DIR EN GREY - Arche

livingisland
May 29th 2012


527 Comments


She has asperger's? That's kinda hot

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Boo you Bloc.

No idea ad, but it is a bit much imo.

Having an illness is hot? I must have missed the memo.

auberginedreams
May 29th 2012


6077 Comments


"She has asperger's? That's kinda hot"

wut.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wasn't the only one to miss the memo then.

auberginedreams
May 29th 2012


6077 Comments


that's one strange fetish.

Tyrael
May 29th 2012


20971 Comments


her voice is hot

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"that's one strange fetish" We may have our own Deuce Bigalow here.

"Her voice is hot" More like effortlessly cool.

spillingmercury
May 29th 2012


877 Comments


Didn't know she had Aspergers. But looking at the date of her debut brings back so many memories, along with all the recommendations. Used to rock NYPC and her music so much. Good review. Also digging the album art.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. And yeah, it took me a while to think of an artist who sounded like very similar to this, but NYPC (& Metric) were the closest I could think of.

Yeah, she does/did have Aspergers. I'm not a doctor, so am unsure if it's something that stays with you (& needs to be medicated) or comes & goes.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012


31620 Comments


BOOOOOO


BOOOOO-UURNS?



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