Ladytron : London WC1 Heaven

...a flash of poignancy here, a glint of menace there...

As the evening progresses, it becomes equally difficult to pick between euphemisms for “brilliant”. A riot of fishnet, satin and patent, Heaven is crowded with extremely stylish people. Nobody, however, is more stylish than the four figures on stage, emerging in their streamlined green uniforms (“when we’re not in our uniforms we’re still Ladytron – but we’re in civilian disguise”) to impressively modernist effect.

While an extra bass player and drummer certainly toughen their sound, it’s their confidence that is most striking, boosted by the strength of the new material. The seductive black-leather throb of ‘True Mathematics’; the wistful electro-tears of ‘Cracked LCD’; the woozy pulse of ‘Black Plastic’: these new songs are as complex and intricate as their circuitry. As those titles show, they might fetishize technology and modern living, but always as a method of cutting straight to the heart of the matter, a flash of poignancy here, a glint of menace there. The older material too, sounds energised, dosed with electronic aphrodisiacs, from the sexual powerplay of ‘He Took Her To A Movie’ to the decadent coo of ‘Playgirl’. Even the mordant teen idol lament of ‘Seventeen’ sounds ferocious. They might have been tagged as the British cell of Electroclash but tonight, they display an intent beyond attitude and dazzle. People dance, kiss, stare and to top it all there’s even a costume change for the encore, soldier green giving way to nuclear-facility white. Back in their civilian guise, surrounded by friends and fans, the band happily declare tonight their best London show.

There’s some ill-fated wandering around as they try to find the VIP bar but it doesn’t really matter when they’ve strung a velvet-rope so assertively round the electronic future. Obviously, they’ll have to argue over what they’re going to call it, but it’s theirs for the taking.

Victoria Segal