Unlike her indie-disco counterparts CSS, the Gossip and Ting Tings, New Zealand one-woman show Ladyhawke has yet to break through to the mainstream, despite possessing a much more polished sound that seems tailor-made for the upper reaches of the charts. Her self-titled debut album, co-written with the likes of Pascal Gabriel (Dido) and Hannah Robinson (Girls Aloud) suggests that commercial success will surely only be a matter of time. Not afraid to plunder both her cool and distinctly uncool record collection, Ladyhawke, aka Pip Brown, has crafted 13 instantly accessible songs, each of which sounds like a potential hit single. Heavily influenced by synth pop, new wave, and AOR in equal measures, Ladyhawke, sounds like a who's who of '80s pop. "Back of the Van" is the Pretenders meets Van Halen's "Jump"; "Professional Suicide" sounds like a lost classic Gary Numan single; while the storming chorus of "My Delirium" echoes the power pop of the Bangles and the Go Go's. Best of all is "Crazy World," whose chugging basslines and dreamy synths would perfectly fit the closing scenes of a Brat Pack movie. But despite its blatant retro vibe, it still manages to sound fresh thanks to its clever production and Brown's fiery and vibrant vocals. She may be a rather awkward live performer, but on record she's full of charisma and personality, and never more so than on the thumping "From Dusk Til Dawn" and the highly infectious "Paris Is Burning," arguably two of the finest pop singles to miss the Top 40 in recent times. Ladyhawke is unlikely to win any awards for originality but you'd be hard pressed to find a more consistent and hook-laden debut all year.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien