Like fine wine, one's seduction technique and the face of Gary Barlow, Ladyhawke's debut album just gets better with age.
But it's been three and a half years since it came out, so it's about time Pip Brown got a wiggle on. And thank Stevie Nicks, she has! The second Ladyhawke LP now has a tracklisting, a release date and a suitably intriguing title - 'Anxiety'. Oh, and earlier this week a five-track sampler dropped onto my somewhat unappreciative doormat. It didn't stay there for long...
It's the first single. It's classic Ladyhawke, but harder. It's Ladyhawke after an army boot camp, if you will. Anyway, there are still synths, but now they flank the guitars rather than vice versa. Which means that Pip manages to rock out and hold onto her pop smarts. For 'Black White & Blue' has a chorus to make an ageing new waver weep. With both joy and jealousy.
Muscular drumming aside, this one's closer to LP1 Ladyhawke. Even its chorus, "You've got a way with my anxiety", seems to draw from the same songwriting well as "Hey! You're playing with my delirium". It's the least heart-stopping track on the sampler, but still as melodic as the milkman's whistle after his mid-morning visit to Mrs Smith at number 36. But much less smug.
Not a cover of the Elton ballad, though you wouldn't put it past her, but a proper stonker of a guitar-pop song. 'Blue Eyes' works a 60s garage vibe, right down to its fuzzy guitar solo, and its chanted chorus is irresistible, reclaiming every last "na na na" from 'Danger Days'-era MCR.
On which Pip takes a trip back to the 90s. It shares its title with an old Sharon Stone flick, sounds a bit like Elastica on steroids, and it's packed with the sort of paranoia - "The quick and the dead will find you" - that stalks a kid after a midnight Sunny Delight blowout. I can't confirm that this was a habit of Pip's during the 90s, but I can confirm that it was one of mine. (P.S. The song rocks.)
A widescreen rock ballad which may or may not have been written after Pip spent Christmas binging on vanilla fudge Quality Streets. "We are looking through pink cellophane," she sings on the bridge. Seriously through, this is 100% misty-eyed mobiles-in-the-air brilliance and it's got a definite hint of the 'Heroes' to it. Is it sacrilegious to say that? Sod it - these days, Bowie's never around to grumble.
'Anxiety' will be released on March 19 on Modular