Ladytron

Gravity the Seducer

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AllMusic Review by

Gravity the Seducer arrived when the frosty synth pop Ladytron had excelled at for over a decade was being popularized by the likes of Crystal Castles, Cold Cave, and Austra. Ever the contrarians, Ladytron went in a very different direction on their fifth album; though the single “Ace of Hz” hinted at a subtler, darker direction, it didn’t fully convey the extent of it: Gravity the Seducer downplays the band’s pop strengths in favor of elaborate textures and vast atmospheres (as suggested by the endless vista on the cover). “Ace of Hz”’s melody runs through the album as a motif, while there are no less than three instrumentals here, including the lovely “Transparent Days,” which sounds like Brian Eno covering “Telstar.” It’s an admirable artistic choice, even though it doesn’t always pay off. Opening track “White Elephant” makes it clear how committed Ladytron are to turning away from Velocifero's hard-edged electro-rock, and indeed Gravity the Seducer is more focused even if it’s not as accessible. The band throws its pop fans a few bones with the swirling “Mirage,” one of many songs here that deal with duality and deception; the paranoid, driving “Melting Ice”; and the Mira Aroyo-sung “Moon Palace,” which echoes the album’s cryptic feel with lyrics like “the serpent sea is calling out your name.” However, much of Gravity the Seducer dwells in bleak, sad, and weary territory. Helen Marnie makes “90 Degrees” sound downright arctic, while “White Gold” reaffirms the group can sound colder than any cold wave revivalists and the melody of “Ambulances” sounds like a pale, slow reflection of Light & Magic's “Seventeen.” Initially, Gravity the Seducer may seem like a dreary listen, but its whispers and hints have a fragile, haunting quality that reveals itself over time. This may be Ladytron’s most difficult album, but it’s also one of their most cohesive.

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